August 24, 2010

Malware May Have Caused 2008 Plane Crash

While this isn’t really gaming related, Malware makes a big impact on the modern computer world and this really goes to show how devastating Malware can be. 

Authorities investigating the 2008 crash of Spanair flight 5022 have discovered a central computer system used to monitor technical problems in the aircraft was infected with Malware.

An internal report issued by the airline revealed the infected computer failed to detect three technical problems with the aircraft, which if detected, may have prevented the plane from taking off, according to reports in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.

The flight of 172 crashed shortly after take off and left only 18 survivors putting the death toll at 154 passengers. 

The infection could of entered the plane in a number of different ways include to a VPN connection, USB drive or an infected file already on the system.  It only takes one file to infect and compromise the system and if their aren’t standards set in place to prevent this type of attack it’s likely to happen again. 

“Any computer that is connected to a network is vulnerable to a malware infection,” O. Sami Saydjari, president of Cyber Defense Agency, told TechNewsDaily. “Standards have not been set to protect critical infrastructure.”

This type of development is going to make me a little more paranoid when I happen to fly on occasion.  In a world that is increasingly dependent if not entirely dependent on computer systems is this type of incident likely to repeat itself?  This type of attack could take terrorism to a whole new level if all the individual has to do is infect the central computer system with a USB drive.

April 12, 2010

Fake Facebook Ad

“A malicious advertisement has been found within an application for Facebook that redirects users to fake antivirus software, according to a security researcher.  The banner advertisement for greeting cards is intermittently displayed with an application called Farm Town, which has more than 9 million monthly users according to information published on Facebook. If the bad Shockwave Flash advertisement is displayed, the user is redirected from Facebook through several domains and ends up on a Web site selling fake antivirus software, said Sandi Hardmeier, who studies malicious advertisements and blogged about the issue.(See also “How to Remove Fake AV Software.“)” Says PC World.  You can read the full artcile here

The Ad itself is said to be harmless but it is highly recommended that users NOT click on any of the ads claiming to clean their system.  It’s sort of funny that they have to inform people not to click on malicious content. 

Hackers and Malicious code writers have been getting more and more insidious for years.  I have worked in the IT field for a little over five years now and I can honestly say that the methods used by hackers to dupe unsuspecting people into installing their malicious software are incredibly clever.  The most prevalent cases I see are people who believe the popups that show up.  “The message said I was infected so I installed the software and paid for it.”   said customer.  The sad thing is most people who pay for the software never get their money back.  The most amusing case I saw was a lady who brought her Mac in.  She said “I think I have a virus can you check it out?”  I of course said yes and sat down and studied the laptop and went straight for her “documents directory.  Inside I found 18 copies of antivirus2009.exe.  The lady had tried to install a windows virus on her machine 18 consecutive times.  This just goes to show how little attention people pay to what pops up in front of them.

I think if you posted a pop that said “If you click here you will DIE!”  in big red letters and sent it out to 100 people that 75 of them would be dead.  It never ceases to amaze me to how little attention people pay to their surroundings.

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