Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scary new ransomware takes over iPhones, iPads and Macs

I saw this on Kim Komando's web site,

"A new wave of ransomware is specifically targeting Apple devices.

iPad, iPhone and Mac owners in parts of Australia are reporting that their devices are being held hostage. On their phones, tablets, and Macs, they are seeing messages on the screens demanding $50 to $100 to gain access to their gadgets
If you don't pay the ransom, you don't gain access to your device. There is a work-around. But first, how did the bad guys get in?

Time Magazine is reporting that it appears that whoever’s behind this has gotten ahold of people’s iCloud usernames and passwords, then used the Find My iPhone feature to remotely lock devices, demanding payment in order to unlock them. Now, that's pretty clever.

One iPhone user, a Fairfax Media employee in Sydney, said she was awoken at 4 a.m. on Tuesday to a loud "lost phone" message that said "Oleg Pliss" had hacked her phone. She was instructed to send $50 to a PayPal account to have it unlocked.

If you have a passcode on your device, you will be able to unlock it after the hacker has sent you the message demanding payment. Ignore the hacker's message and simply enter your 4-digit PIN.

Those who had not set a passcode are unable to access their device. Your best bet is to bring your phone, tablet or Mac down to the Apple store and ask them for help.

It's just a matter of time before this attack spreads beyond Australia.

What should you do?

Set up passcodes on your devices. Change your iCloud password too.

For your Mac, read this tip that shows you how protect from snoops.

You need security programs on your phone or tablet. Click here for the 5 best apps to secure your tablet or phone."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Microsoft cautions against Windows XP hack


Microsoft is warning XP users to steer clear of a hack that installs security updates despite the recent end of support for the aged OS.

In a statement sent to ZDNet on Monday, Microsoft explained:

"We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers. The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers. Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1."

Microsoft turned off the support tap for Windows XP in early April, which means the software giant will no longer provide bug fixes, security patches, or other updates for the OS. That cutoff puts XP users at risk, so it's only natural that some would try to find a workaround to keep their XP computers secure.

As described by Betanews, the hack directs updates intended for Windows Embedded Industry and Windows Server 2003 to XP machines via a Registry change. But XP isn't quite the same as Windows Embedded or Server 2003.