August 2008 - From the Trenches

Dell Dimension 4700c Smoked Power Supply

Dell Dimension 4700c Smoked Power Supply Super Macro

Power Surges Happen

This photo is the power supply for a Dell Dimension 4700c.  A customer called, his PC smoking, after some power failures hit his business.  He had no surge suppressor, the computer was plugged directly into the wall outlet.  The smoke was emanating from the main power supply capacitors, which as the photo reveals, the tops of one capacitor swelled and started venting smoke and electrolyte.  We tend to take power for granted, and think nothing bad can happen to our personal or business equipment.  A moderately priced surge strip or a battery backup could have prevented a $150 repair bill.

Malware Update

As the following article and video describes, Spyware, Malware and Trojans are evolving into Crimeware.  The days are gone when some young aspiring programming releases a virus, worm, or trojan for kicks and recognition.   Today, the goal of today's malware writers is to make money.  Technically skilled users have evolved into sophisticated organizations, making this crime a business model.  Last month PCNS encountered several difficult removals of the UPS virus, at a cost of $180 per call.  Katrina and Burrito are state of the art.  It has the capability of shutting down diagnostic and spyware removal tools, automatically restarting a PC to implant keystroke logging recorders, and it mutates and replicates new code with random file names.

Crimeware Gangs form Botnet Tag Team

F-Secure Video: The Evolution of Crimeware.  It's getting worse

The Story of XP Antivirus 2008

This is an 8 page article on the infamous XP Antivirus 2008.  Sadly, some PCNS customers were duped and purchased this fake software.  Your credit card information went to Barbados, the website is registered in Singapore, and the server appears to be hosted out of Kuala, Lumpur (Malaysia).  The domains are registered in Ukraine.   Users who purchased this fakeware should contact their credit card company and dispute the charge. Article Quote:

"This type of malware is very, very disturbing.  One can only wonder how many users have been duped into installing ineffective security software, and what happened to their private information and credit card data when they paid for it.   The presence of such software, and the overall very high quality of the ruse it presents, is frightening.  More than likely, thousands of people have been fooled.   In fact, this type of deception has been around for several years now, and it would not still be here if it did not work well."

"This should serve as a dire warning to all: be extremely careful what you trust, and question everything that looks even remotely suspicious.  For example, no website can run an anti-malware scan on your computer simply by your visiting the site.  Any site that purports to do so is almost certainly run by criminal gangs."

Anatomy of a Hack