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Rogue AV infection vectors question

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#1 Frederick P

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:21 AM

Good morning,

I have recently (over the last 2 months) had multiple customers infected with Rogue AV-type malware (Several XP Total Security 2011, 1 "registry fixer", and 1 that claimed the users disk drive was failing). I have been able to clean them all, with help from this site and others, but the number of infections is troubling me and I want to find out if I can focus more on prevention than cleanup.

I had two XP machines infected yesterday with XP Total Security 2011. They both had up-to-date Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP had a nice green checkmark "didnt find any threats", definitions updated same day while the Malware was running...bleh). After cleaning I ran Windows update on both - one had all updates, one needed only 1. The only thing I found out of date was Java - they had older versions of java 6, not the current java 6 update 25.

So I have multiple machines whose users are keeping them (mostly) up to date, using current AV protection, who are accessing mainstream sites during the course of business - and getting infected. Symantec wasn't the only AV I've seen fail on this, other customers have used Trend Micro and I had one AVG. The customer yesterday used Mozilla. Others used IE.

I understand that these programs are being cloned and mutated so that signature detection isn't very effective, but shouldn't their behavior and infection characteristics be known? How are these things getting on systems, and how do they progagate?

This forum has been a huge help in cleaning up the mess, but I would really like to prevent them in the first place.

Thanks for reading. :)

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#2 quietman7


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Posted 21 May 2011 - 07:36 AM

I understand that these programs are being cloned and mutated so that signature detection isn't very effective, but shouldn't their behavior and infection characteristics be known?

Attackers quickly create and release new rootkit variants, backdoor Trojans, and rogue software in attempts to defeat detection and removal. The security community is in a constant state of change and it takes time for these new variants to be reported, samples collected, analyzed, and tested by anti-vendors. Once those stages have been completed, database definitions need to be updated and released to the public. While all this transpires the attackers are busy creating a new variant and the cycle starts all over.

How are these things getting on systems, and how do they progagate?

Please read How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected which explains the most common ways malware is contracted and spread.

Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:

Keep Windows and Internet Explorer current with all security updates from Microsoft which will patch many of the security holes through which attackers can gain access to your computer. When necessary, Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of each month and publishes Security update bulletins to announce and describe the update. If you're not sure how to install updates, please refer to Updating your computer. Microsoft also recommends Internet 6 and 7 users to upgrade their browsers due to security vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers.

Avoid gaming sites, porn sites, pirated software (warez), cracking tools, and keygens. They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. In some instances an infection may cause so much damage to your system that recovery is not possible and the only option is to wipe your drive, reformat and reinstall the OS.

Avoid peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs (i.e. Limewire, eMule, Kontiki, BitTorrent, BitComet, uTorrent, BitLord, BearShare). They too are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to malware infections. File sharing networks are thoroughly infected and infested with malware according to Senior Virus Analyst, Norman ASA. Malicious worms, backdoor Trojans IRCBots, and rootkits spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming, porn and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans, and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications.
Beware of Rogue Security software as they are one of the most common sources of malware infection. They infect machines by using social engineering and scams to trick a user into spending money to buy a an application which claims to remove malware. For more specific information on how these types of rogue programs install themselves and spread infections, read How Malware Spreads - How did I get infected.

Keeping Autorun enabled on flash drives has become a significant security risk as they are one of the most common infection vectors for malware which can transfer the infection to your computer. One in every eight malware attacks occurs via a USB device. Many security experts recommend you disable Autorun as a method of prevention. Microsoft recommends doing the same.Note: If using Windows 7, be aware that in order to help prevent malware from spreading, the Windows 7 engineering team made important changes and improvements to AutoPlay so that it will no longer support the AutoRun functionality for non-optical removable media.

Always update vulnerable software like browsers, Adobe Reader and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) with the latest security patches. Older versions of these programs have vulnerabilities that malicious sites can use to exploit and infect your system.
Change all passwords: Anytime you encounter a malware infection on your computer, especially if that computer was used for online banking, has credit card information or other sensitive data on it, all passwords should be changed immediately to include those used for banking, email, eBay, paypal and any online activities which require a username and password. You should consider them to be compromised and change passwords as a precaution in case an attacker was able to steal your information when the computer was infected. If using a router, you need to reset it with a strong logon/password so the malware cannot gain control before connecting again.

• Finally, use common sense, safe computing and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.
Security Resources from Microsoft:Other Security Resources:Browser Security Resources:

Edited by quietman7, 21 May 2011 - 07:54 AM.

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#3 H1-T3CH-G33K5


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Posted 21 May 2011 - 01:24 PM

We support many clients and to keep their computers virus free, we install Kaspersky Internet security 2011. This has been an effective method that works for us.

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