The Continuing Saga of Malware by Email

We’re seeing reports of a new round of storm virus emails. This time they’re using valentine’s day to lure users to a site to download and run the malware. Otherwise it is essentially the same attack as before. We advise that you ensure all your email and virus defenses are running with the latest updates and that your users are reminded to ignore emails from unknown entities. They should also never download attachments from emails or web sites that are not explicitly trusted. There are plenty of potentially intriguing subjects that could be used to dup unsuspecting users. Things like winning Super Bowl tickets, checking out the latest American Idol videos, or even the latest news on the presidential campaign.

0wned By a Picture Frame & Other Digital Errata

First it was Trojan firmware on network routers, firewalls and other network appliances. That was followed by attackers installing trojans and malware on USB keys and then dumping them back into those sale bins by the registers. Now, SANS is reporting that a number of digital picture frames sold by retailers were pre-infected with malware, just waiting to be mounted on a PC during the picture loading process.

As we have been predicting in the State of the Threat presentations for more than a year, the attackers have found new and insidious ways to turn the newest and seemingly most benign technologies into platforms of attack. Now that just about everything from refrigerators to washing machines and from toasters to picture frames have memory, CPU and connectivity – the vectors for malware introduction and propagation are becoming logarithmically more available. As computers, mesh networks and home automation continue to merge, we have to think differently about risk, threats and vulnerabilities.

Until we as security folks can get our head around overall strategies for securing the personal networks and tools we become more dependent upon each day, we have to rely on point tactics like wiping drives when we get them, reloading firmware on all devices – even new ones – from trusted vendor sources and doing the basics to secure home and business networks and systems. Hopefully, one day soon, we can build better, more proactive solutions like integrated hashing, malware identification and other mechanisms for alerting users to basic tampering with our devices. While we geeks are getting the wired world we always dreamed of, we are learning all too quickly that it comes with some unexpected risk…