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News|End of the line for Windows XP

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted April 08, 08:50  GMT
Tags: Microsoft
0
 

Support for Windows XP is ending: after today there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Is this a problem? After all, it's a 12-year old operating system.

It wouldn't be, if it weren't for the fact that there are still a lot of people running Windows XP - our data indicate that around 18 per cent of our customers are still running Windows XP. That's a lot of people wide open to attack once the security patches dry up: effectively, every vulnerability discovered from now will become a zero-day vulnerability – that is, one for which there is no chance of a patch.

The problem will be compounded once application vendors stop developing updates for Windows XP - every un-patched application will become another potential point of compromise, further increasing the potential attack surface.

Switching to a newer operating system might seem like a straightforward decision. But though Microsoft has given plenty of notice about the end of support, it’s not so difficult to see why there might be difficulties for some businesses. On top of the cost of switching operating system, it may also mean investing in new hardware and even trying to replace a bespoke application developed specifically for the company - one that will not run on a later operating system. So it's not so surprising to see some large organisations paying for continued support for XP .

So if you don't switch right now, can you stay secure? Will your anti-virus software protect you?

Certainly it will provide protection. But this only holds good if by 'anti-virus' we mean a comprehensive Internet security product that makes use of proactive technology to defend against new, unknown threats - in particular, functionality to prevent the use of exploits. A basic anti-virus product, based largely on signature-based scanning for known malware, is insufficient. Remember too that, as times goes by, security vendors will implement new protection technologies that may well not be Windows XP-compatible.

At best, you should see this as a stop-gap, while you finalise your migration strategy. Malware writers will undoubtedly target Windows XP while significant numbers of people continue to run it, since an un-patched operating system will offer them a much bigger window of opportunity in which to exploit vulnerabilities they find. And any Windows XP-based computer on a network offers a weak point that can be exploited in a targeted attack on the company - if compromised, this will become a stepping-stone into the wider network.

There's no question that switching to a newer operating system is inconvenient and costly - for individuals and businesses. But the potential risk of using an operating system that will become increasingly insecure might well outweigh the inconvenience and cost.

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Events|Virus calendar wallpapers for 2013

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted April 04, 08:06  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.2
 

Some of you may remember the virus wallpaper calendars that we published in previous years, listing a selection of significant events in the history of the IT security industry.

Well, we're posting new versions for 2013.

April's wallpaper is here.


clickable!

But be sure to check our calendar page each month as we'll be adding new wallpapers as we go through the year.

We hope they'll be an interesting background for your desktop, as well as highlighting key security events from the past.

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Project|Malware wallpaper calendars for 2012

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted January 19, 15:42  GMT
0
 

As some of you may remember, during 2011 we published a malware calendar wallpaper for each month of the year.

We're doing so again this year, with updated information from 2011. However, we've decided to take a slightly different approach this year and publish all 12 wallpapers in one place. You can find them all here.

We hope you like this year's designs and find the data interesting.

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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for December 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted December 07, 08:31  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.2
 

Here's the latest of our malware calendar wallpapers.


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Christmas brings many more people online since the Internet provides a quick and convenient way to buy Christmas gifts. This makes it the perfect time for cybercriminals to cash-in on online activity. So it's also a good time for a reminder about the basic things you can do to reduce the risk of cybercriminals spoiling your Christmas.

  1. Install Internet security software and keep it updated.
  2. Keep Windows and other applications up-to-date.
  3. Backup your data regularly to a CD, DVD, or external USB drive.
  4. Don’t respond to email messages if you don’t know the sender.
  5. Don’t click on email attachments if you don’t know the sender.
  6. Don’t click on links in email or IM (instant messaging) messages. Type the address directly into your web browser.
  7. Don’t give out personal information in response to an email or other message, even if it looks official.
  8. Only shop, bank or socialise on secure sites. Make sure the URL starts with ‘https://’.
  9. Use a different password for each web site or service you use. Don’t recycle them (e.g. ‘jackie1’, ‘jackie2’). Don’t make them easy to guess (e.g. mum’s name, pet’s name). Don’t tell anyone your passwords.

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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for November 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted October 31, 16:21  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.2
 

Here's the latest of our malware calendar wallpapers.


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This month's calendar includes a fairly typical mix of cybercrime references. However, I'd like to highlight one in particular - the arrest of a Dutch teenager for stealing furniture from the Habbo Hotel virtual world.

To some people, the idea of having a virtual life seems strange. It may seem even stranger for the police to take an interest in the theft of something that's not real. There are, of course, reasons why they would. For one thing, the virtual theft was carried out by stealing the login credentials of members of Habbo Hotel - essentially a real-world phishing scam like any other. For another, the theft and sale of virtual property can be as lucrative as any other type of cybercrime: in this case, the stolen goods had a real-world price-tag of more than €4,000.

This case underlines the fact that *any* kind of online transaction, if it can be used to make money illegally, if of interest to cybercriminals. So we all need to remain vigilant and take care to safeguard all our online activities.

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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for October 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted September 30, 08:45  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0
 

Here's the latest of our malware calendar wallpapers.


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This month's wallpaper highlights the worldwide nature of cybercrime.

Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for September 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted August 31, 15:08  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.2
 

Here's the latest of our malware calendar wallpapers.


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This month marks the anniversary of the arrest of the alleged author of the CIH virus (also known as Chernobyl). This virus was designed to erase the flash BIOS of PCs running Windows 9x, making the machine unbootable - something that was particularly nasty on notebooks, where hardware components like flash memory are built into the motherboard. CIH also had another payload - to overwrite the hard disk with garbage.

This virus was responsible for damage to a large number of computers in South Korea in 2000, three years after its first appearance.

Today the threat landscape is dominated by malware-for-profit, in contrast to the cyber-vandalism of the 1990s. However, CIH provides a reminder that even cyber-vandalism could have a serious financial impact on its victims.

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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for August 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted August 05, 12:24  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.1
 

Here's our malware wallpaper for August, highlighting some notable malware-related events from the past.


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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for July 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted June 30, 12:30  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.4
 

Here's the latest of our malware wallpaper calendars.


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As usual, we’ve highlighted some of the notable malware-related events from years gone by.

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Project|Malware Calendar Wallpaper for June 2011

David
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted June 01, 15:35  GMT
Tags: History of Malware
0.2
 

Here's the latest of our malware wallpaper calendars.


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This month marks the anniversary of the appearance of Cabir, the first malware for mobile phones. This worm - a proof-of-concept worm created by 'Vallez', a member of the virus writing group 29A - was designed to infect devices running the Symbian operating system and to spread using Bluetooth.

Mobile malware has come a long way since then.

  • There are now thousands of mobile threats.
  • Mobile malware is no longer proof-of-concept.
  • Like PC-based malware, most of today's threats are designed to steal money.
  • There are threats targeting most mobile operating systems. But the majority are cross-platform, Java-based threats.

On top of this, the use of smartphones has increased massively. And we're all doing so much more with them - at home, at work, or both. As a result, they hold so much more confidential data; and the risk of data leakage from lost or stolen handsets is far greater than at any time in the past.

We all need to be very clear: that's a computer in our pockets or bags - not just a telephone!

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