Category Archives: Security

TrueCrypt tutorial

TrueCrypt is a free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux. With TrueCrypt you can create virtual encrypted drives,  encrypt entire partitions and removable devices or entire hard drives. Watch this tutorial by Thirdfoundation for Windows or the MAC Version by Obrien1979

UPDATE (Oct 14): The development of Truecrypt has been discontinued by its creator but a team of developers has taken up the task of carrying on its legacy through TCnext (TrueCrypt next). For more information please read “About TCnext“.

These videos below are based on an older version of TrueCrypt, but after installation you will see that it looks all the same. For the most up-to-date version go to https://truecrypt.ch/downloads/

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Removing the Windows XP Security 2011 malware

There has been a surge in computers infected with the Windows XP Security spyware. The user is normally affected by clicking on a very convincing fake Windows XP security warning displayed on infected websites.   Once the malware is installed, it continues to display pop-ups with security warnings and installs a heap of trojans  on the computer. This malware also disables all .exe files, making it impossible for the user to run anti virus scanners and malware removers. Here is how I recently removed this pest.

  1. Disconnect your computer from the internet, this malware installs trojans which will make your computer vulnerable to remote access. Use another computer to download the following programmes, then run/install them on your infected computer in the following order.
  2. RKILL stops the malware process ( http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/anti-virus/rkill )  – Note, the malware process did come back, but this gave me enough time to execute the next  step.
  3. xp_exe_fix.reg ( you can read more about it here ) – This will fix your registry and enable the running of .EXE files, so you can install a malware remover and run your virus scan.
  4. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware – it’s a simple and easy to use anti-malware by Malwarebytes. Install and run, it will ask you to update, reconnect the internet and allow it to update, disconnect internet after update is done. Run the full scan.
  5. After malware scan finishes, click on “Remove Selected” to remove all malware from your computer.  After removal, reboot as instructed and your computer should be free.

 

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Laptop, mobile and Firefox security

I have been reading some interesting blog posts with suggested security measures for mobile devices, laptops and online.

  1. Lessons I Learned When My Laptop Was Stolen – On http://lifehacker.com
  2. How to Track and (Potentially) Recover Your Stolen Laptop or Android with Prey – On http://lifehacker.com
  3. How To Protect Your Login Information From Firesheep – on http://techcrunch.com

The posts are really worth reading, and also the comments on them. In case you want to use this post as a bookmark for future reference, like I do, here is a list of the solutions mentioned in the posts above.

  1. TrueCrypt – data encryption
  2. Prey Project – track and (potentially) recover stolen laptop, Android or iPhone
  3. Force-TLS Firefox addon – force selected websites to use HTTPS

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Microsoft Security patches June 09

Microsoft has released its latest security bulletins covering 31 security vulnerabilities. In a total of 10 bulletins 5 turned out as critical, the highest security rating by Microsoft.  See details below:

(extracted from http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms09-jun.mspx)

MS08-018 (Critical): Fixes two privately reported vulnerabilities in implementations of Active Directory on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003, and Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) when installed on Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003. The more severe vulnerability could allow remote code execution.  It is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, and rated Important for supported versions of Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003.

MS09-019 (Critical): Patches seven privately reported vulnerabilities and one publicly disclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer. The more severe of the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. Affects IE 5.01, IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 running on all supported editions of Windows.

MS09-020 (Important): Fixes one publicly disclosed vulnerability and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). The vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker sent a specially crafted HTTP request to a Web site that requires authentication. These vulnerabilities allow an attacker to bypass the IIS configuration that specifies which type of authentication is allowed, but not the file system-based access control list (ACL) check that verifies whether a file is accessible by a given user.  Affects all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

MS09-021(Critical): Patches seven privately reported vulnerabilities that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Excel file that includes a malformed record object. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could take complete control of an affected system.  It affects Excel 2000, Excel 2002, Excel 2003, Excel 2007, Office 2004 for Mac, and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac; Open XML File Format Converter for Mac; and all supported versions of Microsoft Office Excel Viewer and Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

MS09-022 (Critical): Covers three privately reported vulnerabilities in Windows Print Spooler. The most severe vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an affected server received a specially crafted RPC request.  It applies to Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

MS09-023 (Moderate): Patches a privately reported vulnerability in Windows Search. The vulnerability could allow information disclosure if a user performs a search that returns a specially crafted file as the first result or if the user previews a specially crafted file from the search results.

This security update is rated Moderate for Windows Search installed on all supported editions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

MS09-024 (Critical): Fixes a privately reported vulnerability in the Microsoft Works converters. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Works file. Affects Word 2000, Word 2002, Word 2003 with the Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter,  Word 2007 Service Pack 1, Microsoft Works 8.5 and Microsoft Works 9.

MS09-025 (Important): Covers two publicly disclosed and two privately reported vulnerabilities in the Windows kernel that could allow elevation of privilege. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could execute arbitrary code and take complete control of an affected system. The vulnerabilities could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users. Affects Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.

MS09-026 (Important): Patches a publicly disclosed vulnerability in the Windows remote procedure call (RPC) facility where the RPC Marshalling Engine does not update its internal state appropriately. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code and take complete control of an affected system.  Rated Important for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.

MS09-027 (Critical): Covers two privately reported vulnerabilities that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Microsoft Word file. Rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Office Word 2000. For all supported editions of Microsoft Office Word 2002, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, and all supported versions of Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, and Microsoft Office Word Viewers, this security update is rated Important.

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Firefox Vulnerability

Security Focus has published a vulnerability found on Firefox (all releases and platforms) causing a serious security flaw. An attacker can exploit this issue by enticing an unsuspecting victim to view a malicious file using the affected browser.

Exploit code at the link iframes a little xml file with an xslt transform that causes a crash reliably on 3.0 branch and trunk (and presumably 1.9.1, didn’t test). Null, but it’s being called, assuming the worst for the moment.  – extracted

Mozilla developers have already worked out  a fix which will be added to Firefox 3.0.8 which is due next week.

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