Lavasoft News - April 2007

Security Shorts

Guidelines for Anti-Spyware Makers Finalized

The Anti-Spyware Coalition, of which Lavasoft is a member, has finalized a new set of documents designed to provide vendors with guidelines in their development of anti-spyware software. The “Best Practices” documents were released in January, but readers were given one month to offer feedback. Read the documents in their entirety on ASC’s website.

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China Becomes Home of the Botnet

The world’s most populated nation is also the world’s botnet epicenter. China has pushed Britain out of top spot, hosting the highest number of compromised, zombie computers. According to a new report by Symantec, China accounts for 26 percent of all bot-infected PCs; the city of Beijing alone has just over five percent.

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ID Theft Rampant in NY & California

Residents of New York City and Los Angeles are more likely to be victims of identity theft, according to a new study by an American fraud security firm. ID Analytics found that the states of New York, California and Nevada have the highest incidence of attempted ID theft, compared to Wyoming, Vermont and Montana, which have the lowest rates. Urban areas had higher fraud rates. Read why at Reuters.

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Anti-Scam Scam Makes the Rounds

Security firms are warning of the latest phishing scam which uses new bait to lure its victims – other phishing scams. E-mails claiming to be from the Anti-Scam Department of the British Secret Intelligence Service have been “warning” computer users that they may have been victims of a scam and encourage them to reply with their personal details, offering free investigative services.

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Possible Hole in IE7’s Phishing Filter

Microsoft is investigating a possible hole in Internet Explorer 7 that could aid the creators of phishing scams. An Israeli developer writes on his website that cyber crooks can actually use an error message displayed by the browser to send surfers to malicious websites disguised as trusted sites. IE 7 on both Windows Vista and XP are reportedly affected. (Microsoft had not provided a security patch at the time of publication).

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Mapping out Risky Domains

One in 10 websites that end in .tk, the domain for the island of Tokelau, either spread malware or warrant a warning due to pop-ups. Security firm McAfee has mapped out where it is safe to surf the web and where it is risky. It looks like domains ending in .gov are the safest on the Net. The riskiest large country domains are Romania (.ro) and Russia (.ru); they are also the most likely to host sites that try to exploit security holes in web browsers.

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Free Registry Booster Scan from Uniblue. The scan will remove a limited number of errors on your PC. To remove all errors, Registry Booster can be purchased for $29.95 (get System Tweaker as a bonus).
Net Stats
The world generated 161 billion gigabytes of data in 2006, according to a new study by technology research firm IDC. That is 3 million times the information in all the books EVER written. Or picture this - 12 stacks of books that each reach from the Earth to the sun. That is a good chunk of photos, videos, e-mail, web pages, instant messages, phone calls, and other digital data.
Source: IDC, AP
Term of the Month
Polymorphism is a term often used today to describe 'morphing' malware. The spyware application uses a rudimentary form of polymorphism to randomize files, names and registry keys so each infected PC contains a slightly different version of the program. Read the 'computer science' definition of polymorphism at Wikipedia.
Tech Tips
If you cannot save attached files to your PC, your e-mail client may be configured to stop you from opening file attachments of a certain size or type. This is set for security reasons. If you are using Outlook Express, open the Tools menu and select Options. Click the Security tab, deselect the Do Not Allow Attachments To Be Saved Or Opened That Could Potentially Be A Virus option, and click OK. Be sure to scan the saved file for malware before opening it!
Ballot Box Poll Results
Here are the results from our latest Ballot Box poll:
How well do you read EULA's (End User License Agreements)?
I read in detail :789
I scan the text :2593
I accept without reading :5772
Go to and take our latest poll: Do you know what pharming is?
Helpful Homepage
There are countless rogue/suspect anti-spyware products and websites out there trying to fool PC users today. Lavasoft News found a great webpage listing a good number of these, including screenshots. Educate yourself at Spyware Warrior!
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