Notes from the Field: Feb 20, 2014

Comcast has made an offer to buy Time Warner Cable. The deal which was accepted by TWC would combine the numbers one and two cable companies in the United States. Comcast which owns a number of media properties such as NBC and MSNBC has already given marching orders to its lobbyists to get the deal approved. In response, there has been some rather heavy criticism of the deal asking both Congress and the Justice Department not to approve the merger.

CEBUG February 2014 Notes

I was going to combine some new information since the last CEBUG meeting with my notes from the last CEBUG meeting. However, I decided that the new information was significant enough that it probably should be presented in its own article. Hence, this document only covers what I discussed in the February 2014 CEBUG meeting.

Microsoft News:

CrytoLocker Still Rages on the Internet

One of the things that I’ve been following the past several months has been the CrytoLocker Trojan. Known in the security community as WORM_CRILOCK. CrytoLocker is ransom ware which when downloaded and installed on a PC, will immediately begin to encrypt files on the infected PC and continue until it has done so to every file.  Once completed, the user gets a message to contact the Trojan author to purchase the unlock key using BitCoin as the payment medium. There is no known way for security companies to break the encrypted files to get past this problem.

Notes from the Field

The McAfee brand is being phased out by Intel. A couple of years ago, Intel bought McAfee and has been incorporating McAfee into its different products. The McAfee products will be renamed “Intel Security”. Expect to see this change complete by the middle of the year.

Intel Security is going to offer free mobility tools for smartphones and tablets to customers running Android, iOS, and other operating Systems to its customers.

Review - Xara Designer Pro v9

Reviewer Rating of 5 out of 5In this review for Xara’s Designer Pro X9, I will begin with my customary summary of what’s new. Do keep in mind that I wrote an extensive review of their Web Designer X9 earlier this year.

Review - Xara Web Designer v9

Reviewer Rating of 5 out of 5I know I don’t normally do a review of Xara’s stand-alone Web Designer program, but the latest version is so packed with great features I had to give it a try! Keep in mind this is a program aimed directly at the web designer market.

Laptop Security

I thought I'd pass along these guidelines that I read recently from the Security Awareness email from the SANs Institute: 

1. Make sure your security software has not expired. If it has expired, renew or replace it immediately.

Needless to say, Some Significant Patches are Needed Now

I thought I'd take a minute to update people on a couple of items that are of interest in the computing community:

Microsoft Releases Out-of Band Patch

Today Microsoft released an out of band patch which affects all Windows operating systems, but only addresses current supported editions. This security update resolves a publicly disclosed vulnerability in the Windows Shell. Specifically, this vulnerability addresses how the Windows Shell processes LNK and PIF files which are found in nearly all Windows operating systems from Windows 1 to Windows 7. Unfortunately, this update only addresses the problem on Windows XP SP3, Vista, and Windows 7.

Hackers targeting social networking services

I know Marlin's been posting a number of articles on security issues, so here's one of my own. ZDNet in the UK recently published an article on a known spam/exploit attack directed at LinkedIn, a popular social networking service aimed at business users.

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