How Safe Are Your Online Passwords?

Posted by Blog Tipster

Jul 16, 2012 2:17:00 PM

Hey Happy Monday everyone! I'm sure you've heard about the Yahoo security breach (full article listed below).  If you have a Yahoo account, I highly recommend that you change your password just to be safe. 

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Topics: Online Scam, Yahoo, Online Passwords, Security, Browser, Malware, Cyber Crime, River Run Computers, Social Web Browser, Browsers

3 Ways Mobile Devices Become Infected with Malware

Posted by Eric Torres

Jul 26, 2011 9:39:00 AM

mobile securitySocial engineers have been using various dirty tricks to fool people for centuries. Social engineering, the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using technical hacking techniques, is as old as crime itself and has been used in many ways for decades.

For the past several years online, social engineers have been trying to fool unsuspecting users into clicking on malicious links and giving up sensitive information by pretending to be old friends or trusted authorities on email and social networks.
And now that mobile devices have taken over our lives, social engineering is an attack method of choice to gain access to a person's smartphone or tablet.

Here are three examples of current cons being used by criminals to get inside your mobile device.

Malicious apps that look like legitimate apps

One example is the case of a popular and legitimate application Android users were purchasing that caused a virtual "steam" to appear on the screen of a smartphone. You could move your finger to scrape the virtual steam off, people love this sort of thing, although it served no real purpose.

But a malicious application that looked exactly like the virtual-steam application was created and many were conned into purchasing that one, instead of the authentic application. From a users perspective it is very hard to distinguish between an app that is legitimate with an app that turns out to be malicious.
What users ended up with was an application with unwanted things behind it. In some cases, the malicious application activated an SMS message from the victim's phone that was sent to request premium services and the user was charged. The attacker, meanwhile, would delete any return SMS messages acknowledging the charges so the victims had no idea they were being billed.

The best advice, don't install applications that come from un-trusted sources.
Malicious mobile apps that come from ads

In some cases, legitimate applications on a smartphone run bad advertisements. If the user clicked on the ad, they are taken to a web site that tricks the victim into thinking their battery is inefficient. The person is then asked to install an application to optimize the battery consumption, which is instead a malicious application.

Our advice is the same as with PC’s, be leery of any advertisement that is asking you to install an application.

Apps that claim to be for "security"

Another new mobile attack vector is a ZeuS malware variant that actually originates with an infected PC. When a user visits a banking site from an infected computer, they are prompted to download an authentication or security component onto their mobile device in order to complete the login process.

The attackers realize that users are using two-factor authentication. In many cases that second factor is implemented as a one-time password sent to the user's phone by the banking provider. Attackers were thinking: 'How can we get access to those credentials?' Their answer is: 'Attack the user's phone.'
The way this ruse works is once the PC is infected, the person logs onto their bank account and is told to download an application onto their phone in order to receive security messages, such as login credentials. But it is actually a malicious application from the same entity that is controlling the user's PC. Now they have access to not only the user's regular banking logon credentials, but also the second authentication factor sent to the victim via SMS. In many cases, people thought they simply were installing security applications, or in some cases, a security certificate.

Mobile devices, pure and simple, are hand-held computers and should be treated as such. The best way to protect yourself is to be cautious of not only the applications you install, but the links you click on in the web browser. If asked to download a file, application or security certificate, be leery and only download from trusted sources.

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Topics: Phishing attacks, Communications, Browser, Malware, Apps, Smartphone, Android

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web by Google

Posted by Eric Torres

Apr 15, 2011 9:24:00 AM

If you have some less tech-savvy friends that are a bit confused about what cloud computing, HTML5, DNS, or the other ins and outs of the internet, a new web site created by Google explains it clearly for non-techies.

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

The creative team that gave us Google Chrome has released an online book titled "20 Things I learned About Browsers and the Web". The book is not an eBook, think of it as more of an interactive online guidebook built in HTML5.  It’s a clever overview of things many people may not know. Well illustrated and written with humor, the book covers a cross section of items and is designed to explain some of the finer points of the internet to those of us that don't understand it.

This online guide was written for everyday users who are curious about the basics of how browsers and the web work, and how their evolution has changed the way we work and play online.  It has quite a few long-standing basics, like DNS, IP addresses, and cookies, while also explaining some of the more recent trends, like webapps, HTML5, cloud computing, and more.

The site is well designed and one can it read like a real book. You can flip through pages cover-to-cover, or jump to specific sections from any point in the book. It's a good resource when something like Wikipedia might get too technical, so it's a nice companion to Google's latest video how-tos for parents initiative.  
I expect we will only see more and more of this sort of stuff as the years (and technology) move forward. The full experience (ideally in Google Chrome) can be viewed here.

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Topics: HTML, Google, Browser, Chrome

Firefox 4 To Debut Next Month

Posted by Eric Torres

Jan 14, 2011 11:30:00 AM

Get ready Firefox fans, because Firefox 4 is on the way. PCWorld writes that the next version of the second most popular browser worldwide is describe the image"nearly ready for release" and should be available starting next month.

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Topics: Firefox, Browser

River Run Tech Blog: 60% of Windows Users Could Switch to Chrome OS

Posted by Eric Torres

Nov 29, 2010 10:57:00 AM

Linus Upson, Google's vice president for engineering in charge of Chrome, recently made some bold comments about his company's upcoming operating system. Google has apparently done some Chrome OSresearch and found that 60 percent of Windows PCs used in the corporate world are exclusively used for tasks that can be handled in a browser environment. Google wants to hit Microsoft where it hurts.

"Mr. Upson says that 60 percent of businesses could immediately replace their Windows machines with computers running Chrome OS," according to The New York Times. "He also says he hopes it will put corporate systems administrators out of work because software updates will be made automatically over the Web. But the vast majority of businesses still use desktop Microsoft Office products and cannot imagine moving entirely to Web-based software or storing sensitive documents online — at least not yet." 

Corporate IT departments aren't going to immediately jump on Chrome OS, and it's not simply because they tend to do things slowly. Upson hopes the OS will put corporate system administrators out of work because software updates will be made automatically over the Web. The system administrators who decide whether to move to Chrome OS or stay on Windows are obviously going to stick with the latter if their jobs are at stake. They will come up with every reason and excuse not to ditch Windows. At the same time, CFOs and CEOs will be eager t o move to Chrome OS if it means streamlining IT operations.

Google is planning on releasing Chrome OS on netbooks in the first half of 2011. As part of the "consumer launch," Acer and HP will push out various hardware offerings but none of them will be for businesses. A Google-branded Chrome OS netbook (think Nexus One) will reportedly launch for "friends and family" in December. The search giant says that the main way to differentiate between its two OS offerings is form factor: Android is for touch, Chrome OS is for keyboards.
So what do you think? Would you dump your Windows computer in favor of one running Chrome OS?

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Topics: Google, New Products, Browser

River Run Tech Blog: RockMelt - The Newest "Social" Web Browser

Posted by Eric Torres

Nov 8, 2010 8:59:00 AM

With Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera all duking it out for browser market share, some might think the world doesn’t need another Web browser. However, a group of rockmelt logodevelopers led by Tim Howes and Eric Vishria have taken the wraps off of RockMelt, a new Web browser that builds on the notion of a social Web by building Facebook and Twitter directly into the browser. RockMelt will also include integrated sharing tools and an enhanced way to navigate through Google search results via the keyboard to find exactly what you want. Additionally, if you happen to be using a public computer or someone else’s system, no problem: RockMelt is the first browser to be “fully backed by the cloud.” Just run RockMelt, and your personalized browsing experience is waiting for you.

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Topics: New Products, Social Media, Communications, Browser, Cloud-based, Beta, Social Web Browser

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