Tag Archives: Antivirus

For the want of a patch, the data was lost

For the want of a patch, the data was lost

Nursery rhymes nail it — from a horse’s shoe to a missed batch at Equifax leaking the private data on millions of people.

The post For the want of a patch, the data was lost appeared first on Avira Blog.

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DNA virus brings malware full circle

pandasecurity-malware-dna

In what sounds like a science fiction story, scientists have successfully infected a computer using a virus encoded in DNA. The experiment was designed to prove that DNA could be used to successfully infect computers in the future.

During the test, engineers created an artificial strand of DNA and “programmed” malicious code inside it. The strand was then inserted into a computer capable of reading the DNA code, and the malware successfully installed itself before going on to fully infect the machine.

A fledgling industry

Storing computer data in DNA is still a very experimental technique. Microsoft has been investing millions of dollars in the technology because they believe DNA can store much more information than traditional hard drives. Early tests have been quite successful as scientists have managed to store and retrieve poems, pictures and other files using the organic material.

We are still many years away from seeing commercial DNA storage however – it still costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to create synthetic strands of the material.

Because the best security safeguards are designed alongside new technologies, it makes sense for scientists to test DNA malware capabilities now. That way they can engineer systems to block malware before they become publicly available.

A headline grabbing experiment

A closer look at the DNA virus experiment shows that the problem of organic malware may not be as bad as expected (yet). The infected DNA was passed directly into the “reader” of its computer victim, which then read the instructions and executed the malware code – exactly as you might expect.

To put this into perspective, the process was no different to inserting an infected USB drive into your laptop, or executing an infected attachment in your email. Despite the unusual storage medium – DNA – there was nothing strange about the actual infection mechanism itself.

If you put a virus into an unprotected computer, you can expect the machine to be infected.

Replicating an ancient, natural phenomenon

Ironically infection by DNA is a truly ancient phenomenon. For thousands of years humans have been infected by the DNA carried by viruses, causing illnesses including the common cold.

During a human infection, the virus attaches itself to cells in the body, injecting infected DNA into them. This process is repeated in healthy cells over and over again, triggering the symptoms of the illness. Serious viral infections, like HIV or Hepatitis, can be fatal.

It is this natural process that gave computer viruses their name in the first place.

Prevention not cure is the answer

Viral infections in the human body cannot be cured with medication like antibiotics. Instead the body’s natural defences, the immune system, must fight the infection. For some serious infections anti-retroviral medications may be prescribed, with varying degrees of success.

The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid contact with it in the first place. When it comes to computers, that means installing antivirus software which can detect and block potential infections before they are installed. Even computers with DNA-reading capabilities.

To learn more about protecting your computer from viruses, download a free trial of Panda Security now.

The post DNA virus brings malware full circle appeared first on Panda Security Mediacenter.

Read More

DNA virus brings malware full circle

pandasecurity-malware-dna

In what sounds like a science fiction story, scientists have successfully infected a computer using a virus encoded in DNA. The experiment was designed to prove that DNA could be used to successfully infect computers in the future.

During the test, engineers created an artificial strand of DNA and “programmed” malicious code inside it. The strand was then inserted into a computer capable of reading the DNA code, and the malware successfully installed itself before going on to fully infect the machine.

A fledgling industry

Storing computer data in DNA is still a very experimental technique. Microsoft has been investing millions of dollars in the technology because they believe DNA can store much more information than traditional hard drives. Early tests have been quite successful as scientists have managed to store and retrieve poems, pictures and other files using the organic material.

We are still many years away from seeing commercial DNA storage however – it still costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to create synthetic strands of the material.

Because the best security safeguards are designed alongside new technologies, it makes sense for scientists to test DNA malware capabilities now. That way they can engineer systems to block malware before they become publicly available.

A headline grabbing experiment

A closer look at the DNA virus experiment shows that the problem of organic malware may not be as bad as expected (yet). The infected DNA was passed directly into the “reader” of its computer victim, which then read the instructions and executed the malware code – exactly as you might expect.

To put this into perspective, the process was no different to inserting an infected USB drive into your laptop, or executing an infected attachment in your email. Despite the unusual storage medium – DNA – there was nothing strange about the actual infection mechanism itself.

If you put a virus into an unprotected computer, you can expect the machine to be infected.

Replicating an ancient, natural phenomenon

Ironically infection by DNA is a truly ancient phenomenon. For thousands of years humans have been infected by the DNA carried by viruses, causing illnesses including the common cold.

During a human infection, the virus attaches itself to cells in the body, injecting infected DNA into them. This process is repeated in healthy cells over and over again, triggering the symptoms of the illness. Serious viral infections, like HIV or Hepatitis, can be fatal.

It is this natural process that gave computer viruses their name in the first place.

Prevention not cure is the answer

Viral infections in the human body cannot be cured with medication like antibiotics. Instead the body’s natural defences, the immune system, must fight the infection. For some serious infections anti-retroviral medications may be prescribed, with varying degrees of success.

The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid contact with it in the first place. When it comes to computers, that means installing antivirus software which can detect and block potential infections before they are installed. Even computers with DNA-reading capabilities.

To learn more about protecting your computer from viruses, download a free trial of Panda Security now.

The post DNA virus brings malware full circle appeared first on Panda Security Mediacenter.

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Cleaning up the PUA

Cleaning up the PUA

Sometimes in life, we are handed other people’s PUA and we get to clean up the mess. PUA stands for potentially unwanted apps; little programs that can slow a device down to a crawl and scoop up far more private data about you than they should.  It’s a problem for most devices, regardless of their operating […]

The post Cleaning up the PUA appeared first on Avira Blog.

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UniCredit client data theft – Look who got your data?

UniCredit client data theft – Look who got your data?

Nearly half a million clients of UniCredit – one of Italy’s largest banking institutions – have potentially had their private banking transactions looked at by hackers. The data theft is the biggest so far in Italy. The bank just discovered that it was a victim of two separate attacks earlier this year. So far, UniCredit […]

The post UniCredit client data theft – Look who got your data? appeared first on Avira Blog.

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AV-TEST certifies Avira Antivirus Pro as Top Security Product

AV-TEST certifies Avira Antivirus Pro as Top Security Product

Avira Antivirus Pro got the best possible score in the latest AV-TEST for Windows Home Users. Antivirus Pro obtained perfect 18 out of 18 points, receiving top scores in Protection (6/6), Performance (6/6) and Usability (6/6). Avira continues to honor its reputation. The June AV-TEST award is the sixth distinction our product received this year. During […]

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BKA: Database with 500 million login credentials found – Are you there?

Database with 500 million login credentials found - says the BKA

A stash of 500 million login credentials, including email addresses and passwords, has been found says the German BKA (BundesKriminalAmt – Federal Criminal Police Office) on its website. The database was found on an “underground economy platform”. Yes, 500 million is a huge finding! More details provided by the BKA? Unfortunately not really… Unfortunately, the […]

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Avira Antivirus Security – fresh interface and friendly features

Avira Antivirus Security – fresh interface and friendly features

We have just rolled out a new UI for our Antivirus app for Android. The new look gives you a faster picture of your online security – and makes it easier for you to improve it. Online security is more than keeping away from malware. It’s a full spectrum effort that encompasses privacy from trackers, secure communication […]

The post Avira Antivirus Security – fresh interface and friendly features appeared first on Avira Blog.

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Petya strikes back

Petya strikes back

This time, it’s not just EternalBlue. Petya is back – and this time it’s not just targeting the people with out-of-date software. The list of notable victims already includes Maersk shipping giant, the Chernobyl radiation detection systems, and more. This particular wave of ransomware appears to be aimed at the Ukraine, but the new infection tactics are a […]

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Kaspersky Accuses Microsoft of Unfairly Disabling its Antivirus in Windows 10

kaspersky-antitrust-complaint-microsoft

Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab is so upset with US software giant Microsoft that the security firm has filed more antitrust complaints against the company.

The antivirus firm initially filed a lawsuit late last year against Microsoft with Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) over alleged abuse of Microsoft’s dominant position in the desktop market to push its own antivirus software with Windows 10 and unfair competition in the market.

Microsoft ships Windows 10 with its own security software Windows Defender, which comes enabled it by default with the operating system.

While Microsoft has made some changes in Windows Defender since the initial complaint, Kaspersky Lab is not satisfied with the changes, filing more antitrust complaints against the software giant, this time with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.

Kaspersky Accuses Microsoft of Unfair Competitive Practices

kaspersky-antitrust-complaint-microsoft

The antivirus firm told European antitrust regulators that Microsoft prevents third-party security software vendors from competing on equal footing with software products built into the ubiquitous Windows operating system.

“Microsoft uses its dominant position in the computer operating system market to fiercely promote its own—inferior—security software (Windows Defender) at the expense of users’ previously self-chosen security solution,” says co-founder Eugene Kaspersky in a blog post.

Kaspersky claims that Microsoft removes its antivirus software from the Windows operating system when users upgrade their systems to Windows 10, and enables its own Windows Defender anti-virus solution.

What’s even more? Kaspersky also claims that Redmond doesn’t provide enough time to fully test its latest Windows 10 upgrades in order to ensure that its existing software is compatible with the OS.

windows10-kaspersky

Kaspersky also says that Windows 10 generates the pop-up dialogue boxes when users try to run third-party antivirus software. One of its users told Kaspersky that when he upgraded his PC to Windows 10 and contacted Microsoft support team about the disappearance of security software, a support worker replied with this:

“Windows 10 is incompatible with third-party antivirus. It is a shame that you have spent money on a Kaspersky Lab product, but you ca not reinstall it without running the risk of the appearance of new bugs.”

In its statement, Kaspersky Lab said European antitrust regulators that “these actions by Microsoft lead to a lower level of protection for users, a limitation on their right to choose, and financial losses both for users and security solution manufacturers.”

While Microsoft has regularly been improving its Windows Defender software to protect its users (even those who have never installed any anti-virus software on their systems), Kaspersky argues it is anti-competitive.

“We want Microsoft to stop misleading and misinforming our—and not only our—users,” concludes Kaspersky. “We want to see all security solutions being able to work on the Windows platform on a level playing field. And we want to see users being able to decide for themselves what they want and consider important to them.”

Microsoft Said It’s Their Duty to Protect Windows Customers

In return to this issue, Microsoft released a statement, saying the company reached out to Kaspersky Lab after the initial complaint filed in November 2016, but that no words between the two had exchanged so far.

Microsoft also believes Windows 10 complies with competition laws, expressing confidence that it can persuade competition watchdogs that the company had done nothing wrong.

“Microsoft’s primary objective is to keep customers protected. We are confident that the security features of Windows 10 comply with competition laws. And we will answer any questions regulators may have.” 

“We’re always interested in feedback from other companies, and we engage deeply with antimalware vendors and have taken a number of steps to address their feedback. We reached out directly to Kaspersky a number of months ago offering to meet directly at an executive level to better understand their concerns, but that meeting has not yet taken place.”

Although Kaspersky considers Microsoft’s move to enable its own anti-virus software by default on Windows 10 unfair, having a built-in free antivirus tool in this age of data breaches and cyber attacks is very useful for users who can’t buy, or don’t buy, a good antivirus for their PCs.

However, it’s still to be seen what EU regulators decide to do about this matter.

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