Tag Archive: infect

Problems with Conficker or Downadup?

Or How to Disable Autoruns

– to Stop This Particular Infection Route

This is a brief summary of what to do…
  1. Make sure you have a proper anti-virus program running
    • NOD32 is a good one!
    • AVG is too
    • Kaspersky, Trend, CA are also good brands
  2. Make sure your anti-virus is current and updated.  Check like so:
    • Somewhere on your program will be it’s last update
    • For NOD32, hover your mouse cursor over the little icon next to the taskbar clock (bottom right in XP)
    • As well as version numbers, the last update shows in reverse date format – 6 Feb 2009 is 20090206
    • Other programs are very similar and the last update is usually pretty obvious so you don’t need to fiddle with settiings etc.
  3. Disable autoruns as this is a good way for the virus/malware/trojan to get you
    • This is the best and easiest way to do this:
Copy This Text:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]

Open Notepad:

start -> run -> type ‘notepad’ (without quotes) and hit Enter on the keyboard

Paste Into Notepad:

Now paste the copied text into Notepad

Now Save the File:

Call the file a handy name like “StopAutoRun” but make sure it has a ‘reg’ extension!

So your file should be called something like StopAutoRun.reg

Now Run The Reg File You’ve Just Made:

Double-click the file – your registry will pick up the change and the handy autorun feature will be disabled!

Of course, you may be used to using this “handy feature”.  If you want to keep it, don’t do any of the above but be very, very, very careful about any USB stick you insert into your computer, any CD you insert or play, any video you watch on DVD, and any network you map or connect to…

What About if I’m Already Infected?

How to Clear and Eliminate Conficker or Downadup?

  1. Connect to the internet with a “good”, clean computer.  You may need to borrow one or visit a friend’s house..
  2. Download a clean up program – the NOD32 version is here: http://download.eset.com/special/EConfickerRemover.exe Other Anti-virus makers have similar ones.
  3. Copy the tool you’ve just downloaded to your own PC and run it.   It may take a while and you’ll definately need a reboot afterwards.
  4. Install and/or Update a good Antivirus program (see above at top)

Further Reading and Information Sources

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Computer Piracy on the High Seas

In an amazingly co-incidental follow up to my earlier post, Not all Pirates Win, but Most Do!,  on the very same day news was just being released that some Royal Navy ships had their NavyStar (N*) computers compromised by a virus originating from “the former eastern bloc”.

Token News Links:

Also, it now turns out that the Windows flaw which was patched last October and to which I referred in the earlier post when there were 3 million infections, has now led to about 9 million PCs being hacked by the worm variously called Conficker, Downadup, or Kido.  This posting makes this clear:

  • Windows worm hits 8.9 million PCs in past week

What’s it all Mean?

It means that computers cannot be relied upon to protect yourself.  Nothing is really secure. This applies equally to :

  1. Honest people being attacked by criminals
  2. Honest people stealing music or software for their own gain
  3. Governments striving to protect their citizens
  4. Governments covertly trying to control their or other country’s citizens
  5. Criminals trying to hide from governments or other agencies
  6. Businesses trying to steal other company’s secrets

…and so on and so forth…   It’s a two-way process.

Those who try to circumvent systems will, by the very same methods they use, be compromised or attacked by the systems they seek to control or destroy.

It’s obvious really.  The idea that ID Cards will be immune to such failings is a pipe dream.

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Not all Pirates Win, but Most Do!

Two news items this week display the different fortunes of different sorts of pirate.

T´ Jolly Roger, aye.

Jolly Roger

First we have a Pirate ‘washes ashore with cash’ from Monday when the Somali pirates en route home from collecting their ransom for the Sirius Star super-tanker capsized.  Most swam ashore without the loot, one kept the loot and drowned – his family now have $150,000 drying on washing lines…

The Pirate Bay in Makarska, CroatiaSecond, we have the statistics produced by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) who have said that the music Pirates win music download battle.  This is something that I’ve mentioned several times in these pages i.e. the issue of copyright theft, usually with reference to Crawling Chaos.  However, it extends far, far beyond this.

Initially, (and still is), it was a case of everyone wanting (and being able to get) something for nothing.  This has effectively made all music totally disposable as it’s seen to be value-less.  This is confirmed by the IFPI estimate that 95% of music is un-paid-for (copied) nowadays.  Bizarrely, when the word “pirate” is bandied around it is usually applied to Joe Public.  In reality though, Joe Public is increasingly made to pay for these “free” downloads of cracked music and software by various social engineering means….  e.g. for anyone that’s checked or used these places, it’s becoming common for users;

  • to be “registered” (whatever that means)
  • to pay a premium for “pro” download speeds (whatever that means)
  • to pay to maintain the “service” – “to our customers”… ditto above …
  • to “check out our partners” – which invariably lead to shadier and dodgier places

I’m sure many people have seen this stuff – and all to get “free” music or games.  So the real pirates are increasingly big business – the type of big business that doesn’t pay taxes and the type that usually asks you to pay for protection.  The type that trancends national boundaries and will do anything to extort money from everyone.  Moving with the times, they’ve now bought up the script kiddies who’ve grown up, to control the computer botnets, corrupt software and infect everyone with trojans, worms, keyloggers and other malware to siphon off cash from anyone.  A wonderful delivery method is through software (or music) that people will willingly download…. Today’s latest is that 3 million have been hit by a windows worm!

So the pirates are the big mafia types, in no way different to the cut-throats of old.

As with everything in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and someone will have to pay somehow at some point.  And like the Somali pirates found out, sometimes the costs are pretty high.  For music, it’s performers and the public, the old model has changed, just don’t expect everything to be always present, ready to consume, in future.  Sustainability is a term usually applied to “the environment” but equally, it applies to everything in life, including music production and choice.  It applies to having sustained easy access to a PC and the internet.  Even these simple acts are becoming more fraught with technical and political obstacles being raised to counter the “terrorist threat”.

All these things, while being different in their effect or original intention, are all connected to the whole “computer thing” because that is the delivery method.   Like the air, we all have to breathe it.  If you want to access the internet, you access it via a technology not a device, because the same underlying technology is behind all devices from mobile phones to internet banking servers.

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Noose Tightens on Copyright Theft (Fixed Penalties for Downloaders Next!)

Following my little hit on Crawling Chaos tune nickers here google-security-to-crawling-chaos-and-morals/, the latest news is that a London woman, Isabella Barwinska, has been fined and costed a total of £16k!

Pirated Dream Pinball 3D Draws £16,000 Payment

Game sharers face legal crackdown

Game sharer hit with £16,000 judgement

The original case is reported here, which shows the extent to which big business is prepared to go.  Also, it’s not just games makers that are prepared to spend money on lawyers and turn the screw in various ways.  Last month they made a huge deal in the UK (Net firms in music pirates deal ) to legalise snooping on IP connections and thus send out warning letters automatically, turn down connection speeds and ultimately prosecute.

I suppose eventually it’ll be like speeding cameras and fines where there is no human involvement at all because in most cases the evidence will be so overwhelming that a defence is futile.

Fixed Penalties for Downloaders!

Ha Ha.

As an aside and as an example of the futility in trying to bring a little jollity into the BBC world, the BBC has a “Have Your Say” on-line section where people get issues of the day off their chest – and nothing happens – they just feel that something’s happened.

Anyway, this site, News Sniffer, monitors the BBC online output and makes notes on all editorial changes, which is interesting to watch the editor’s brains working, and also, monitors the censoring going on….

One post was censored from the “Have Your Say” item called, Should rules be tightened on file-sharing? It went like this:

Written by Barry, Glasgow, Glasgow on Tue Aug 19 09:51:23 UTC 2008. 1 recommendations.

Yes, all sorts of virus and diseases are spread through sharing files – fungal infections being the most common. I got a nail infection by sharing someones file. We should aim to keep everyone in good health and ban the sharing of files. One file per person, simple, no transfer of infections.

I thought it was a typical bit of spontaneous English whimsy, the kind Ken Dodd talks about, and shows that the grey suits are finding their way into the on-line BBC world when previously it was left to geeks, propellor heads and other misunderstood undesirables.

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UK Gov Admits to Losing More Data: There’s No Justice is there?

The latest in the long-running sage that the British Government is trying to spell out called:

Why We Will Win The “We Are the Best People to Put All Your Information in an ID Card and Lose It” Competition.

http://www.itworld.com/security/54342/uk-justice-agency-loses-45000-personal-records goes the story.  In a FOI release the Department of Justice has said it’s lost tons of data by various methods.  A good way was the simple method of sticking it, unencrypted, onto CDs – and then losing them.

Read the whole article.  The weasel double-speak, “committed to ensuring that information is shared in a safe and secure way“, is laughable.

I really don’t know why the high-tech criminals go about the laborious procedure of sending spam, setting up botnets, infecting PCs, key-logging the PCs for personal details, hacking government computers, posing as repairmen to hijack equipment, etc etc etc. and all the other tricks they do.

All they have to do is hang around government offices and the stuff will come flying from the windows like silver frisbees.  Sit in public parks and wait for laptops to be left.  Check a few roundabouts for discs.  Get in a taxi and check the back seat.  Watch the letterbox and something might just pop through from TNT.

It’s just pathetic.

However, this site here, The coming of Global Communism, has an interesting take on the data losses.  He says this about the continuing rash of data loss stories and the government’s wishes for centralized data storage (I quote):

The goal of these stories is to gradually convince the masses that without a large database to store all this data, continual security breaches and data losses will be ongoing

He also reckons that such a thing already exists.

I think,

  • that there is a lot of connectivity but nowhere near that suspected by “Man” or like that presented in “Spooks” on TV.
  • that if it does exist, then a lot of incompetent people are using it or ignoring it (e.g. the London 7/7 bombers were known about for ages but left alone by our security services).  They also shot the Brazilian then as well…
  • that even with a centralized store, people will still pull data from it for “custom reasons”.  Most of the people doing this are simple clerks anyway.  I’ve watched many at work on my software – it’s my job – they’re impatient and “click happy”.
  • I’m willing to be proved wrong though.

The thing is that this continuing ferago isn’t even worth parodying any longer.  Most comics and satirists just hit on the old standards because most people don’t care.  All they want is a quiet life with enough money for a few holidays each year.  They’re not bothered by international conflict or anything like that as long as they can put petrol in the tank and have a shag.

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