2.6 MILLION instances of infected ads since late December.

Since late December, anti-virus company Avast! has stated there have been over 2.6 MILLION instances caught by their software of online ads infected with malware being served up to computers.  It’s not just by the small and dodgy ad companies either.

The biggest culprits were Yahoo’s Yield Manager and Fox’s Fimserve which cover more than 50 percent of online ads.  Google’s DoubleClick wasn’t immune either, but its representation was significantly lower.

Most people will say be careful where you click, but this doesn’t help in the case of this particular infection (and many others).  All you had to do was visit a website displaying one and have a program installed they were capable of exploiting.  These programs include (but are not limited to) Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash, Sun Java and Apple QuickTime.

A common mistake people make is thinking they’re safe by only going to legitimate sites, but this is wrong as well.  The New York Times, Drudge Report, TechCrunch, WhitePages (US), NineMSN (AU), Fairfax (AU) just to name a few have all fallen victim of malicious ads on their websites in the past 12 months.

More details and my recommendations on how to protect yourself after the break. Continue reading

Another apple release, another lovers vs haters battle.

The cult of mac have released another product today, and as expected the news sites are filled with information about it as though it’s the only thing that has happened in the past month. It’s amazing how Apple seem to be the only tech company who can drum up the attention normally reserved for celebrities and drama queens.  Even massacres and natural disasters struggle at times.

Along with all the media attention, the public has also gone in to a frenzy. Once again tied between the fanboys who think it’s the greatest thing since the last Apple release/the previous Apple release/the previous Apple release/rinse, repeat/sliced bread, and the Apple haters who like to counter the rabid Apple fans with equally rabid opposition.

What neither side seems to understand is that Apple products, like just about all products (IT and non-IT) have their place. They all have their purpose.  When the MacBook Air came out we had the same thing, many people saying it was too limited, others saying it suited them perfectly.  I’m in the camp of it being too limited for me, but just because it doesn’t suit me doesn’t mean I should be running around all but trolling those to whom it does suit. Continue reading

Think you’re too observant to have your card skimmed?

Blown up ATM.Think again.  A few days ago I tweeted a news story about how Australia is seen as a soft target for ATM card skimming gangs.  A few hours later a friend responded with an article from Lifehacker with tips on spotting ATM’s that have been tampered with.  Unfortunately, it was accompanied by a picture of a very oldschool and deceptive skimmer.  Ones of this size and bulk haven’t been used for many years and really do not suit the ATM at all.

If you follow the link at that Lifehacker article it takes you to a VERY good PDF document which demonstrates just how hard it is to spot modern skimming devices.  Most people wouldn’t do this though and just assume skimmers are still big bulky things as shown at the Lifehacker site.  A few more examples of current skimmers and a discussion about skimming after the break. Continue reading

And Murdoch wonders why people are turning away from newspapers?

media vs blogsI started my morning by screaming at my computer.  Not because someone was wrong on the internets, this time it was in outrage (yet again) at the hopelessness of the news media.

It was only a week ago I was ranting and raving on Twitter about how differently the same story was being reported by varying news outlets, some (ABC) making the science based medicine stories very negative while others (SMH, Telegraph, Reuters, AFP etc) giving a more realistic and positive story.  Today though it wasn’t so much the reporter’s incompetence or bias, but rather it was the sheer idiocy of the editor.

Hotmail: now Gmail and Yahoo! hacked

No, they weren’t hacked.  They weren’t cracked either.  Hacking and cracking both require a compromise of the business’ systems.  That in no way shape or form took place.  What happened is that the users were phished. Continue reading

Antivax lies now in I.T. articles.

I was reading an article at PC World about google’s new product “SideWiki“.  It’s basically a program which is an extension to google’s browser toolbar which allows you to put comments in to sidewiki but not in to the article’s comments feature.  This may come in handy for pages that don’t allow comments, but it’s not very good for those that do.  It also has its own intelligent ranking system which I guess we’ll have to see in action first.

The article was talking about the ranking system when up came this line:

It will be interesting to see how Sidewiki functions on controversial pages, such as those where a very vocal minority disagrees with the conventional view. Imagine the comments on pages saying that vaccinations don’t cause autism or that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

Excuse me?  Did I just read what I think I just read?  Did he just say almost every qualified and credited doctor and scientist, as well as the actual facts and figures, reality, is the vocal minority? Continue reading

Doing the basics and data breaches.

Data-LeakAnother week another data leak.  It’s becoming a scarily all too common occurrence, yet this one just had to make me rant.

According to PCPro, an ISP in Britain while sending an email to its customers with instructions for a new billing system, inadvertently attached a spreadsheet containing records on 3,600 of its customers.  The details contained in this spreadsheet were the customers full name, email, address, telephone, business name, and two rows without headers remarkably similar to … usernames and passwords.

Wait, passwords?  No, seriously, are you kidding me?  PASSWORDS??? Continue reading

The piddler fails again.

The piddler is continuing on his campaign of misinformation and blatant lies about the filter. Anybody else would have gotten sick of being caught out so many times, but fortunately for Conroy, the media for the most part don’t really care so it’s only those of us who are informed about the Rabbit-Proof Firewall who seem to notice how pathetic and incompetent he is at anything other than backstabbing and weaseling. Continue reading

Agnry on the filtar!

I’m regularly being surprised by the number of people who are letting their anger at the Australian Rabbit-Proof Firewall cloud their judgement and ability to analyze things clearly. I too am completely opposed to the Rabbit-Proof Firewall in its current form, but lets take some realistic looks at what can be seen on the list.

One thing that majority of people seem to be forgetting, Michael Meloni and Mark Newton included, is that it’s not just about the content hosted on the site. It is also about the delivery methods. I know people hate comparing new media to old media, but it’s the clearest way I can think of to give an example of what I am talking about. Continue reading

It’s a beautiful day.

In relation to this post below, it seems that although the amount of spam getting past the filters in my inbox has gone up, the overall spam volume has gone down by a massive 50%. That number is almost impossible to believe, but that’s what they’re reporting over at Security Fix as well as numerous other non-affiliated IT news websites.

Good news? This is friggin brilliant news. I wonder which bastards are next.

Source: Security Fix.

NebuAd sued.

Normally I’m against America’s over litigatious ways, but this is one case where I can’t help but feel glad it is happening. A class action suit has been filed against the company and numerous US ISP’s in regards to trials of their new products at said ISP’s.

In a nutshell, NebuAd are ex-Claria (who used to be known as Gator) staff, a company infamous for silently installed adware and spyware which was notoriously buggy and difficult to remove. At NebuAd these staff are using similar lack of scruples and working in secret with ISP’s to spy on customers without any notification what so ever in order to sell this data to advertising companies for split profit.

They were found out though, and it was only after numerous people spoke up and the media latched on to any of this that anything was made public. Understandably people are upset and hopefully this will be one more nail in the coffin of these people and their ways. I somehow doubt it, though.

Source: Arse Technica.