Is your New Computer Safe?
While recently investigating counterfeit versions of the Windows operating system, Microsoft uncovered a security threat involving pre-loaded malware. The counterfeit operating systems and malware were found on brand-new computers manufactured and sold in China.
The discovery further lead to a server hosting 500 different pieces of malware including Nitol. Some of the malicious code found are capable of keystroke logging, denial-of-service attacks, rootkits, backdoors and more.
Nitol is a program that creates a "bot" on a user's computer which connects to a network center or a "botnet." There, hackers can subvert the infected computer to do their biding by issuing commands remotely. Nitol is capable of launching DDoS attacks against targets, or opening backdoors for additional malware infections or activity monitoring by turning on a microphone or video camera on a computer.
Yesterday the US Cybersecurity Act of 2012 — a bill that would have given the government more access to monitor our private communications and data — met defeat.
As of now, SOPA, HR 1981, and the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 have all been voted down.
Certainly more bills will foisted on the Internet community in the future. We'll keep you posted!
SOPA and PIPA
Most internet users have heard of this proposed legislation by now. Many websites such as Wiki are protesting this legislation today by blacking out their website or otherwise letting their users know about it.
Americans should not have to tolerate this type of censorship. I encourage you to take action and to encourage others to do the same. The entertainment industry and others concerned about online piracy should use their own legal and technical resources to resolve the matter.
Online piracy is only one of many problems caused by the internet. The entertainment industry argues that it looses $30-$40 Billion to online piracy. Various groups argue that the loses are exaggerated and estimates the loses to be around $445 Million. Regardless of which figure you agree with, studies have shown that Unsolicited Bulk E-mail (SPAM) costs internet providers and employers $70 Billion annually. Other issues such as identity theft and security should be paramount ahead of the entertainment industry's profit.
If you are unaware of what SOPA and PIPA are, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the controversy. More information can be found in the links below.Wikipedia, Google and others have provided convenient tools to locate quickly contact our representatives. Please take a moment of your time to let them know that our Freedom is important and SOPA and PIPA should not be passed.
CEO, Starpoint Communications, Inc.
Freedom Wins - SOPA/PIPA Update
From the Associated Press:Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he is postponing Tuesday's procedural vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said his committee is postponing consideration of PIPA's House companion, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), "until there is wider agreement on a solution."
Are Anti-Virus Programs Worth It?
Regardless of the antivirus program you use, it will impact your computer's performance. Some more some less. Even programs which incur annual subscription fees are not always cost effective when you consider how much they slow down your computer. For many years we've recommended AVG and for the most part still do. There are a number of excellent antivirus programs that are free and do a terrific job.
We would also like to let our user's know about the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). This is a complete anti-malware package available from Microsoft itself. So, if you are running windows XP (or newer) and your $50 copy of Norton or McAfee is about to expire, consider uninstalling it and using the MSE software.