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Archive for January, 2013
January 7th, 2013

“Watering Hole” attacks targeting political sites

Last month we wrote about a flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that could allow cybercrooks to take control of a Windows-based computer if the user browses to a malicious website. The website making news for that attack was the US-based think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Avast Virus Lab has since discovered that two Chinese human rights sites, a Hong Kong newspaper site, a Russian science site, and weirdly, a Baptist website (see the recent tweet) are also infected with the Flash exploit of IE8.

You can imagine the interesting audience that frequents sites such as these. The CFR, for example, attracts high ranking government officials including former presidents and secretaries of state, ambassadors, journalists, and leaders of industry. These sites were chosen on purpose; instead of targeting the general masses, like in a phishing attack, the perpetrators of a so-called “watering hole attack” target specific topics like defense or energy and lie in wait for persons of interest to visit, similar to a predator at a watering hole waiting for its victims to come to it. Read more…

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January 4th, 2013

15% of schools in US without antivirus protection (!)

At the end of November 2012, AVAST launched our Free for Education program, giving business-grade antivirus protection to schools, universities, school districts, libraries, and other education institutions in the USA – for free.  I have to say… things are going really well ;)     (Albeit there is one unbelievable “but”…) Read more…

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January 2nd, 2013

Serious Internet Explorer vulnerability discovered

A flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) 6, 7 and 8 could allow hackers to take control of a Windows-based computer if the user browses to a malicious website. Security Advisory 2794220 was issued over the weekend and soon after a team blog reported that,We are only aware of a very small number of targeted attacks at this time. This issue allows remote code execution if users browse to a malicious website with an affected browser. This would typically occur by an attacker convincing someone to click a link in an email or instant message.”

Microsoft has made a temporary fix available for the zero-day vulnerability until it can deliver a formal patch.

Be particularly careful if you are using versions 6, 7 or 8 of the IE browser. Versions 9 and 10 are not affected by the vulnerability. Check which version of IE you’re running by opening IE, click the Help question mark icon on the right and choose About Internet Explorer. To upgrade an older version of IE,  go to Start > Control Panel > Windows Update.

We recommend switching browsers for a more secure one like Google Chrome. In addition to being more secure than IE 8, it is also faster and supports HTML 5, giving you a better browsing experience. Download free Google Chrome here.