Ransomware a growing menace, says Symantec

Cybercriminals gangs are creating a surge in ransomware, says a new report from Symantec.

Ransomware is a type of malware best described as an online extortion racket. Malware locks or disables your PC in some way and then demands payment in the form of a "fine" to render your PC usable again. Like most scams, the ransomware message claims to come from a legitimate organization, such as the government or a public corporation, to try to convince victims that they did something wrong to incur the fine.

But paying the fine does nothing since the initial malware remains … Read more

New malware strain locks up computers unless ransom is paid

A campaign of "ransomware" is locking people out of their computers unless they pony up the right amount of money.

Spotted by security blog, the malware taps into an exploit kit known as "Blackhole." Sold underground, Blackhole is used by criminals to infect computers through security holes in the browser or third-party plug-ins, such as Java and Adobe Reader.

If the version of Java, for example, is not up to date with the latest patches, the downloaded file will exploit the software's weakness by downloading the Trojan to the PC and then running … Read more

Panda Antivirus debuts for the Mac

Panda Security has launched its latest product, this one geared specifically for Mac users.

The security firm today unveiled Panda Antivirus for the Mac, designed to defend Mac OS and OS X users against viruses, spyware, adware, and other forms of malware. In addition to scanning e-mail and local files on the Mac, the new software will prevent Mac users from unknowingly sending malware-infected documents to friends and colleagues running Windows or Linux, Panda said.

Moving beyond the computer, the software will also scan iPhones, iPads, and iPods to make sure those portable gadgets aren't delivering malware to other … Read more

Be cautious of Internet access at airports

Accessing the Internet via an open Wi-Fi network is risky because you have no idea who is the hot spot provider or who is connected to it. At the airport it may seem more secure to use a terminal to check your e-mail or update your Facebook status; however, according to Symantec, these terminals might not be secure at all.

In a recent article on the company's Web site, Nick Johnston, senior software engineer of Symantec Hosted Services, wrote that at one Internet terminal at a large airport in England, he saw an unusual "Defense Center Installer" … Read more

Symantec unveils 2011 betas of security software

Though we're only a few months into 2010, Symantec is already offering a preview of its 2011 security lineup.

The company launched on Monday beta releases of its 2011 Norton Internet Security suite and Norton AntiVirus, along with new, free security tools. They are all available for download.

Norton Internet Security 2011 is the company's full suite, offering antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and antispam tools. In past years, Norton's security software has been dinged by some for being slow and chewing up too much memory. But Symantec said it is sought to improve its 2011 versions to coax … Read more

McAfee: A million 'scareware' victims a day

If you've ever seen a message pop up on your computer telling you that your machine has a virus and offering to fix it for a fee, be careful. You might be a victim of "scareware."

If so you will be in good company. Security firm McAfee that says that worldwide a million people are victimized by scareware daily. There are 69,000 daily cases in the United States, according to the company.

McAfee Labs reports that "scareware has increased more than 600 percent in the last two years." The company says that criminals make &… Read more

Microsoft: Scareware, PDF exploits rise

The use of scareware and exploits that take advantage of common file formats like PDF, Excel and Word rose in the second half of last year as online scammers realized people are getting smarter about recognizing spam and phishing e-mails, according to a Microsoft security report released on Wednesday.

There was a significant increase in rogue security software, which falsely informs people they need to buy security software and instead either does nothing or steals personal information, the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report found.

Two rogue malware families--Win32/FakeXPA and Win32/FakeSecSen-- were detected on more than 1.5 million computers, … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 870: Baba-boo! Scareware!

On today's show, we discover that "scareware" is a thing (that never should have been) and that you can tell a bad business idea by the bad name. Also, PlayStation Home comes out (in beta) after a year and a half in development, and it seems kind of lame, and we talk about the few folks making money in TTT (These Troubled Times).

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 870

PlayStation Home opens its doors more