Friday, December 7, 2012

December MVPS HOSTS file now available

December's MVPS HOSTS file is now available for downloading. Be sure to get yours!

"winhelp2002 has made a new post at Hosts News

MVPS HOSTS File Update December-07-2012

The MVPS HOSTS file was recently updated [December-07-2012]

Download: (143 kb)

How To: Download and Extract the HOSTS file

HOSTS File - Frequently Asked Questions
Note: the "text" version makes a great resource for determining
 possible unwanted connections ... (584 kb)

Get notified when the MVPS HOSTS file is updated"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

For PC Virus Victims, Pay or Else

Here is yet another new word for us. It's "ransomware". We have been haunted by fake viruses that are, for the most part, harmless, but which have attempted to extort money from us. The ploy with "scareware" that we have become accustomed to is that a fake anti-virus program will run on your machine, tell you that your machine is infected with lots of viruses, and demand a rather small payment to buy an anti-virus program purported to be able to fix your machine. These rogue scareware attacks were mostly rather harmless, and usually could be removed with good anti-malware utility programs. Perhaps some of you reading this hired me to do just that, clean up your machine after you had been attacked by one of these rogue programs.

But now the game has changed. The newer ransomware programs will lock up your machine demanding a rather stiff fine be paid to unlock your machine. However, even if one pays the exorbitant ransom fee, this NY Times article says the thieves rarely will unlock your machine.

It's all rather scary. I have not yet seen one of these attacks "in the wild", and I hope that YOU are not the first one I hear from with a plea for help. Refer to my recommended baseline security suite of programs and be careful out there.

From the NY Times article:

"Kidnappers used to make ransom notes with letters cut out of magazines. Now, notes simply pop up on your computer screen, except the hostage is your PC.

In the past year, hundreds of thousands of people across the world have switched on their computers to find distressing messages alerting them that they no longer have access to their PCs or any of the files on them.

The messages claim to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some 20 other law enforcement agencies across the globe or, most recently, Anonymous, a shadowy group of hackers. The computer users are told that the only way to get their machines back is to pay a steep fine.

And, curiously, it’s working. The scheme is making more than $5 million a year, according to computer security experts who are tracking them."