Here is some good quick advice from my fellow blogger Debra Radcliff:
Panda Security reports increased spread and success of popup “security warnings.” These warnings popup when people surf the Web and hit a malicious or infected Website, and keep flashing their warnings until the user goes to the link, at which time they get infected.
No legitimate security company would do this to a computer, so don’t click the link. Instead, disconnect from the Internet, clear your browser history and restart your computer. If your browser is still flashing warnings, the system will need to be disinfected through anti-virus or a computer restoration service.
Usually these false security warnings are a symptom of something much worse. I’ve had some that will actually not allow you to do much of anything but click on the link in their fake pop-up. What I did was a system restore, but you can also boot in Safe mode and attempt to clean the system.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
In the November 2002, Information Security Magazine article, Infosec’s Worst NightMares, Ed Skoudis lists the Top 5 Worst Attacks of 1998 – 2002. Mr. Skoudis is the founders of Intelguardians Network Intelligence, LLC and is a handler of the very popular Internet Storm Center.
Mr. Skoudis mentions that the Top five major destructive attacks of 1998 – 2002 made many industries “battle-tested” and more likely to be proactive rather than reactive. The 5 year Worst Skoudis list is based on exploits that shook our very faith in the Internet and security of e-commerce.
1. Code Red (2001). July 13 2001, the worm attacked Microsoft IIS systems. By 19 July 2001, the worm had affected over 350,000 systems. SANS and Honeynet Project set up honey pots to capture the worm. But E-eye Digital Security Programmers did the most intense research on the worm and also named it. The worm exploited a vulnerability in the indexing software distributed with IIS, described in Microsoft’s MS01-033 patch. It was a buffer overflow attack. Some of the lessons learned: Keep systems patched, use of honey pots to capture malware, coordinated response helps to contain worms.
2. Nimda (2001). Shortly after 9/11, the Nimda worm was unleashed. It caused more damage financially than Code Red. There were rumors that it was China that released it to hurt the US further, but this is unlikely due to the nature of Nimda.
While it was bad, it had the appearance of a being written by a determined amateur, not a nation-state that spends $1 Billion annually on cyberwarfare capabilities. – Skoudis.
Nimda affected Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, or 2000 and servers running Windows NT and 2000. It was so affective because it attacked IIS, e-mail, browsers and network shares. This multi dimensional attack method could mark a trend in future cyberfare.
Lessons Learned: The importance of an incident response capability, disabling arbitrary scripts in e-mail and browsers.
3. Melissa (1999) & LoveLetter (2000). Both of these exploited malware through e-mail propagation. Melissa used Microsoft Word Macro virus and LoveLetter (I Love You Virus). The worm harvested the victims address book to forward itself to more victims which killed a lot of email servers. Lessons Learned: Many companies got serious about implementing anti-virus applications throughout the network.
4. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DdoS) attacks (2000). After all the panic of pre-Y2K, a completely new and unexpected storm hit major sites: Yahoo!, Amazon, CNN, E*Trade ZDNet and eBay. All by a single child hacker nicked named Mafiaboy. He had spread zombie flooding agents to hundreds of machines around the world and used them to attack sites with billions of useless packets. Lessons Learned: employ anti-spoofing filters.
5. Remote Control Trojan Horse Backdoors (1998 – 2000). In 1998, the Cult of the Dead Cow hackers group created the Trojan, Back Orifice which initially targeted Windows NT/9x. The tool allowed unskilled attackers to attack any vulnerable system. It also marked the rise of the “script kiddies” and produced a bunch of spin offs such as Subseven, Netbus and Hack-a-Tack.
Lawmakers are looking to make harsher punishments for botnet herders. Botnet laws are sure to shake things up. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, law & Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Prevention Act are examples of such laws. Once passed, these laws will be a signifigant change to federal computer law.
“Today’s botnet herders have hundreds of thousands of computers at their command and use technically sophisticated ways to hide their headquarters, making it easy for them to make millions from spam and credit card theft. They can also be used to direct floods of fake traffic at a targeted website in order to bring down a rival, extract protection money or less frequently, used to make a political point in the case of attacks on Estonia and the Church of Scientology.” — Wired
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks about computer security at the RSA Conference on information security in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 8, 2008.
A friend of mine wanted me to do some work on her computer, but when I fired up the computer all I saw was Malware Alarm.
The computer was really slow and essentially un-usable. Malware alarm, I noticed, looks a lot like the scamware PS Guard and SpySheriff. These are applications that pretend to be anti-virus, anti-spam software that actually infect your system with spyware, mass-mailers, and backdoors into your system. This type of the malware is known as a trojan. As usual any attempts to shut this application down or minimized it are useless because even if you do manage to get anything else up, it will eat up so much system resources (CPU, memory, bandwidth) that the computer itself is close to useless. It you delete it in normal mode and miss a part of it, it will regenerate itself like a hydra.
After looking at the Task Manager (which took 20 minutes or so), I decided to reboot in “safe mode”. Unless your system has something like a Rootkit (malware that replaces the main component of your operating system) Safe Mode only turns what is needed and nothing else. I used system restore to remove Malware Alarm. And Spybot Search and destroy/Adaware to remove everything else.
System Restore should be used first because it is easiest and does require any additional software.
1) Reboot in Safe mode: Restart system, hit F8, select “Safe Mode”
2) Proceed in Safemode: When prompted (as in the picture above) Select “NO”
3) Restore Wizard: Select a date prior to when you recieved the malware (system restore does not delete newly downloaded files, only new changes in the registry)