Tuesday, May 29, 2007

iTunes 7.2 Out, Higher Quality and DRM Free Music

I noticed that there was an update for iTunes when updating one of my Windows computers with the Quicktime security update from earlier today. At first I thought I forgot to update that computer the last time iTunes updated but then I noticed the version was 7.2. Since the version jumped from 7.1.1 to 7.2, I figured this was the update that would include the DRM free upgrade for EMI's music sold on iTunes. I checked the download page and it's confirmed:

With iTunes 7.2, preview and purchase iTunes Plus music—new higher-quality, DRM-free music downloads from participating music labels.

At the moment, there's no change in the iTunes Store. No copy protection free music, but it's late in the day. Apple will likely make one tomorrow California time. Right now, it's 11 PM and May 29th still. Even so, you can still download the new version from the download link above.

I won't repeat what has been posted a million times on the Net already, but the copy protection free music will also be twice the quality as well, 256 vs 128 AAC. The details are in this AppleInsider web page, as well as a link to a Wiki page that lists many of the artists that are EMI.

Edit to add: I see Windows Vista is now officially supported as well. Until now, Vista was not supported 100% by iTunes.

SpywareBlaster Update May 29th

Updated: May 29th, 2007
Total: 7909 Items
New: 165 Items

SpywareBlaster is free and available from Javacool's SpywareBlaster page.

SpywareBlaster can:

  • Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software
  • Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox
  • Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer
Please use the web update feature withinSpywareBlaster to obtain the latest definitions. Enable all protections once downloaded.

Quicktime Security Update 7.1.6

Quicktime has a new update for version 7.1.6 to fix some flaws that could allow the bad guys to attack your computer. It is for both Mac and PC versions of Quicktime.

Description: A design issue exists in QuickTime for Java, which may allow a web browser's memory to be read by a Java applet. By enticing a user to visit a web page containing a maliciously crafted Java applet, an attacker can trigger the issue which may lead to the disclosure of sensitive information. This update addresses the issue by clearing memory before allowing it to be used by untrusted Java applets.
More details on Apple's write up about it.

On a Mac, run Software Update and it will find the fix. On a PC, run Apple Software Update or visit the download page where you can gt the Windows version or the Mac one.

Avast Needs to Be Updated to Version 4.7.700

If you use Avast for your antivirus program, then you need to update it to fix a serious security problem. Reported by US Cert:

Avast! antivirus contains a buffer overflow vulnerability. This vulnerability may allow an attacker to execute code a vulnerable system.

In short, the bad buys can take control of your computer if Avast isn't updated to 4.7.700. The automatic updater should alert you. If not, you can download it from the Avast download page. Most people probably have the free home version, which is the 2nd link on the download page.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Parental Guides for Child Safety

Child safety on the internet is always going to be a big concern. It's not just a question of keeping an eye on what they are downloading and installing, incase they inadvertantly install something nasty along with that latest 'must have' bit of freeware.

But it isn't just virus's and trojans that we need to worry about, personal safety and protection of personal information comes top of the list.

Corrine from The Security Garden showed me her entry on Child Safety issues today. It's something we both feel strongly about. Corrine has listed some great links on her article which I shall reproduce here.

Remember, it is important to talk to your children about safety and the internet, and as a parent you need to know that they are safe. But they are also entitled to a certain amount of privacy. You need to find a happy medium... don't lock the computer down so tightly that they can't do anything with it.. but don't allow them full rights either!

Parental Guides for Child Safety

By Blake Handler:

By Fred Stutzman:
By Kevin & Dale Farnham:
From Security Garden:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Windows Installer Update 927891

Normally Windows updates are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, but there is one that just came out. It addresses some problems with "Windows Installer" that can result in memory leaks, 100% CPU usage for svchost.exe and a few other problems. Windows Installer is used to help install Windows or Microsoft Updates. Many other programs use Windows Installer when you install them on your computer, like iTunes 7.

Since Windows Installer is used by many programs, it is important to get this update. If you have any of the problems listed above or listed in the description of Microsoft KB 927891, then you definitely should visit Windowsupdate.com.

Anti-malware Detection Test Results

Sunbelt Blog reported today that Andreas Marx of AV-Test.org has published the results of his latest tests on AV engines.

29 anti-malware products were tested and they were only tested on their detection capabilities, not cleaning.

The best product detected 99.83%, whilst the worst product detected 62.12%, the average detection rate was 86.95%.

Only current malware was used in the tests which included;

  • 68,864 backdoors
  • 47,891 bots (zombies)
  • 407,487 Trojan Horses
  • 82,659 worms

View the results of these tests here

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Phishing technology revealed

Ever wondered exactly what information is gathered from a computer that falls foul of a phishing attack?

F-Secure managed to get hold of some software that the phishers use to interpret the data they steal from the likes of you and me.

See here for the full story with screenshots.

Fix for 100% CPU usage of svchost.exe

When you run Windows Update to scan for updates that use Windows Installer, including Office updates, CPU utilization may reach 100 percent for prolonged periods. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927891/

Lots more information at Donna's Security Flash

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spybot Search & Destroy Stands Up To Malware

The owner of Spybot Search and Destroy received a cease and desist from Oska Educational Systems because it detects DeskMates. Users usually find out they have tis when they have dancing girls and a new toolbar. The program gets installed by a trojan. It seems someone who is an affiliate had the bright idea to have DeskMates added by a trojan so they could make more money. Affiliates make money by the number of installs, so more installs equal more money. Since people might not install Deskmates, why not have a trojan install it for them? Spybot tried to work with Oska to end the unwanted installs but to no avail.

So Oska sent in the lawyers and told Spybot they needed to stop detecting DeskMates and to post a public apology, as well as some other stuff. Patrick Kolla, creator of Spybot S & D, posted the reply to these demands on the home of Spybot Search and Destroy. This has also been posted on Digg, where the story is fast approaching 7400 diggs.

I guess the malware makers didn't realize how many people use and like Spybot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Windows Vista Update for iPod

Microsoft release the final update for Vista that addresses a problem when trying to eject an iPod.

The release is for users worldwide and works with the latest version of Apple iTunes to correct an issue that caused some iPods to become corrupted when ejecting them using Windows Explorer or the "Safely Remove Hardware" function in the System Tray.

I don't use my iPod on Vista, but some people lost their music when ejecting their iPod. Then you had to restore you ipod to get it to work again. The update will be available on May 22nd through automatic updates. You can get the update now by going to the direct download on Microsoft's website.

It's Patch Tuesday

Today is the second Tuesday of May and that means Microsoft has new updates for Windows. If you don't have automatic updates running, then take a visit to Windows Update and get the lateset security updates now.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

CounterSpy 2.0 Update 547

CounterSpy 2.0 latest update definition is 547

CounterSpy is able to catch more spyware than almost every other utility on the market because the CounterSpy threat database (with the signatures of every spyware and malware utility we can identify) is constantly updated. Our researchers constantly look for ways to improve our spyware searching database so that it catches all spyware that could potentially be on your system. Keyloggers, spyware cookies, remote access trojans (backdoors), and more are all identified.

Sunbelt CounterSpy

CounterSpy offers a 15 day fully functional trial. So that means you can not only test how it detects spyware, but how well it removes spyware, malware, and other threats.

Here is a partial list of selected threats in this update. For a full list of the updates, see Spyware Definitions 547

180solutions.SearchAssistant, 3721 Chinese Keywords (CNSMin), ABetterInternet, ClickSpring.PuritySCAN, DriveCleaner, Hacker Defender, Mail PassView, Malware-Stopper, MalwareWipe, NewDotNet, SpyLocked, SpySheriff, Virtumonde, VirusBurst, Ultimate Defender, Win-Spy, WinFixer, Zango.SearchAssistant

AVG Anstispyware Update

Date of Update: May 5th, 2007
Known threats in database: 775,418

AVG Antispyware scans your computer to clean any spyware that may have gotten on your computer. Ewido also has active protection to prevent spyware from getting on to your computer.

Hijackers and Spyware
-Secure surfing in the Internet without fear of annoying changes of the start page of your browser, tracking cookies and advertising bars.
-Nobody should receive e-mails in your name with malicious files in the appendix anymore.
-Security against all kinds of dialers. No fear when receiving the next phone bill.
Trojans and Keyloggers
-No chance for thieves to steal your bank data and personal sensitive information by tapped Internet connections, remote controlled webcams or secret keyboard recordings.

Product Info & Download: AVG Anti-Spyware

Spyware Warrior Rogue/Suspect List Updated

Spyware Warrior have updated their Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites. Below are the new rogue antispyware products:

SpyWare Secure

Total applications listed: 349

Spyware Warrior Rogue/Suspect Antispyware Products and Websites

Windows Genuine Advantage Phish

Symantec have recently published a report about a Trojan called Trojan.Kardphisher. It will try to fool the unsuspecting victim into believing that Microsoft is requesting re-activation of your copy of Windows and to do this you have to supply credit card details.

Lets get one thing straight.... Microsoft does NOT request credit card information for WGA activation, or any other activation that I'm aware of. Please don't get caught out by this, keep your anti virus and anti malware programs up to date and run regular scans, if you need help then there is a list of sites that can help you here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Quicktime 7.1.6 Update For Mac and PC

Apple release a new update for Quicktime recently that addresses several security issues, as well time code and closed captioning. Details of the security issue can be found on Apple's about page for Quicktime 7.1.6. The short story is that the bad guys can use a java applet to execute code to attack your PC or Mac.

You can download the update from Apple, run Apple Software Update on your PC or Software Update on your Mac. Windows update is here and the Mac one is here.

Trillian Update

If you don't know what I'm talking about... or have heard of Trillian but don't use it, then there is no need to read any further.

But if you are a Trillian user then Cerulean Studios have released Trillian version and are urging users to update as soon as possible as this version fixes some serious security risks in earlier versions.

MS Security Bulletin, Advance Notification for May

Microsoft have released an advance notification for the normal monthly updates that are due to be released next Tuesday.

Don't forget to prepare for the updates as I've outlined in an earlier entry - How To Prepare for Patch Tuesday.

On 8 May 2007 Microsoft is planning to release:

Security Updates

  • Two Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Windows. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.
  • Three Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Office. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates may require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.
  • One Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting Microsoft Exchange. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will not require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.
  • One Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting CAPICOM and BizTalk. The highest Maximum Severity rating for these is Critical. These updates will not require a restart. These updates will be detectable using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer and the Enterprise Scan Tool.
Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

  • Microsoft will release an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services and the Download Center.Note that this tool will NOT be distributed using Software Update Services
Non-security High Priority updates on MU, WU,WSUS and SUS

  • Microsoft will release one NON-SECURITY High-Priority Updates for Windows on Windows Update (WU) and Software Update Services (SUS).

  • Microsoft will release six NON-SECURITY High-Priority Updates on Microsoft Update (MU) and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

    Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification/

Microsoft will also be hosting a webcast on Wednesday May 9th 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada), for attendees to ask questions about the bulletins and get answers from the security experts.