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Open Windows Spanish Trailer (2013) - Elijah Wood Movie HD from La Panda Productions on Vimeo.

Panda Security Ventures into the Movie Business with “Open Windows”

In a world where interconnectivity is increasingly important, Panda Security has chosen to sponsor a French-Spanish co-production, Open Windows, as a means of increasing public awareness of the dangers of the Internet, regardless of the device used to connect to it. Scheduled for release in a few months, the movie, directed by Spanish director-screenwriter Nacho Vigalondo, plays out in real time, utilizing different types of formats and electronic devices and the action is seen through the first-person view of the main character’s laptop. With cyber-crime as a backdrop, Open Windows stars Elijah Wood as an everyman whose girlfriend (Sasha Grey) has been abducted by a vicious killer. Wood’s character spends the rest of the film trying to find her, in a hunt that revolves around various forms of technology. The action is followed on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet, an approach that reflects the importance of mobility and immediate Internet connectivity in today’s world. (more…)

Connect With Panda and Win!

Here at Panda Security we believe in protecting our fans and supporters. This is why Panda is giving away monthly prizes to our Facebook and Twitter followers. Our Prize for this month is a Panda Antivirus Pro 2011.

The new Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 offers the easiest and most intuitive protection for your computer. It’s an install-and-forget solution that offers protection against viruses, spyware, root kits, hackers and online fraud. Chat, share photos and videos, do online shopping and banking, read your favourite blogs or browse the web with total peace of mind and without interruptions.

To win, simply join the Panda Security South Africa Facebook page and tell us about your worst malware experience. It could be anything from a funny money scam, to a virus that turned your screen display upside down! The most shocking story this month wins the Antivirus Pro 2011.

We are giving away more prizes next month so continue to follow Panda South Africa for more details on how to enter.

Good luck!

Top five urban myths in the IT security sector

The IT security industry is no stranger to urban myths: stories that spread and, over time, become accepted as general truths. Global IT vendor Panda Security has been asking its community, mainly through Facebook and Twitter, which myths come to mind when talking about antivirus companies, and below we look at the top five answers.

  1. Antivirus security companies make the viruses. This is a claim we have often heard at Panda Security throughout our 20 years in the business, and no doubt the same goes for other companies in the sector. The claim is absurd, particularly if you think that we receive around 55,000 new viruses every day. What’s more if it were true, such a scandal would surely have been uncovered in the 20 or more years that the sector has been protecting users. 
  2. Security companies hire hackers. Of course we can’t speak on behalf of the entire industry, but at Panda Security this issue has been a concern for us and we have never knowingly contracted ‘black hat’ hackers. We have however hired -and we are always looking out for- ‘white hat’ (basically, the good guys) hackers. Another variation of this myth is that you have to be an IT engineer to work in IT security, which is also false. The profile of those who work at Panda is highly varied: engineers, mathematicians, physicists, self-taught, etc. 
  3. There are no viruses for Mac, Linux or cell phone platforms. We would all like this to be true! It is commonly held that none of these present any risks to users, as viruses are only designed for Windows platforms. The truth is that there are viruses for all these platforms. The difference lies in the amount of threats circulating in comparison with those designed for Windows. The explanation is simple: hackers are looking for profit. If the aim is to reach as many people as possible and consequently more potential victims to steal from, what is the best target? A platform with 10 million users or one with 500 million? The answer is obvious.
  4. It requires considerable knowledge to be a hacker, develop viruses, infiltrate systems… in some cases yes, in others no. Some years ago it was difficult to develop viruses, worms, Trojans, etc., and it required technical know-how. In fact many hackers started out “just messing around” while they learnt, and acquired significant knowledge of programming languages, communication protocols, etc. Today this is no longer necessary, as in the case we witnessed recently with Operation Mariposa, those responsible had quite limited knowledge. This is because kits are sold across the Internet which enables amateur hackers to generate and configure malware. We wouldn’t quite say that anyone can do it, but with a little bit of knowledge and dedication, it’s possible to construct, for example, a botnet capable of infecting 13 million computers around the world.
  5. Women don’t work in security companies. This assumption is as frequent as it is untrue. At Panda Security the truth is quite different: more than 30% of the workforce is female, and many women are working in technical or management areas. This figure is growing, as an increasing amount of women are training for sectors such as IT security.

More info and urban myths at:

http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/deconstructing-the-urban-myths-in-the-it-security-sector/

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PandaSecurityZA

Trick or treat? Halloween can end up really damaging your PC

  • Computer pranks with applications that simulate a Trojan infection are invading the Web
  • “Paranormal Activity 2” and “Friday the 13th” used in BlackHat SEO attacks to download malware

As Halloween approaches, applications, fake websites, spam and Trojans all put on disguises to try to trick users. Global IT vendor Panda Security has been detecting attacks like these since August, with the most proliferate attacks listed below.

Halloween pranks used to spread terror…

Even though computer pranks are nothing new, they get massively distributed in the days leading up to Halloween, with the aim of scaring users. These applications are actually harmless, as they really do not contain any malware or Trojans.

They usually arrive at the targeted computer from one of the victim’s contacts, as a Halloween video file or an online greetings card, via email, or a social network. However, once the user has downloaded and installed the item, it displays a series of messages and screens informing the user that they have been infected by a Trojan.

On other occasions, a flash movie may simulate the deletion of all contents on the computer’s hard disk, while a spooky skull is displayed on the screen. The website that distributes this prank offers a video with instructions to configure the movie in order to make it even more realistic and frightening. 

In reality, these are just computer virus hoaxes. However, there is no doubt that users will be really scared to see their computer almost destroyed!

And the real threats…

On other occasions, attackers are using latest releases like “Paranormal Activity 2” or Halloween classics like “Friday the 13th” to distribute malware. 

Hackers are using these well-known Hollywood productions to launch Blackhat SEO attacks, exploiting popular topics in order to place malicious websites at the top of search results when users look for certain terms in search engines. If a user accesses the malicious website, a Trojan or fake antivirus is downloaded onto their computer. These attacks not only exploit horror movies, but any other Halloween-related items like party invitations, etc.

Halloween spam

Panda has also seen an increase in the massive distribution of Halloween-themed spam, used to trick users into giving away their personal data and buying fraudulent or illegal products, or just make money as many of these companies get revenue through pay-per-click systems.

Some tips to protect you

As always, having a great antivirus and taking some basic precautionary measures are the best ways to stay protected against both real and/ or fake threats.

Panda offers the following advice to users: 

  • Don’t open emails or messages received on social networks from unknown senders.
  • Do not click any links included in email messages, even though they may come from reliable sources. It is better to type the URL directly in the browser. This rule applies to messages received through any mail client, as well as those in Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks or messaging applications, etc.
  • If you do click on any such links, take a close look at the page you arrive at. If you don’t recognize it, close your browser.
  • Do not run attached files that come from unknown sources. In particular, watch out for any files with Halloween-related names.
  • Only buy online from sites that have a solid reputation and offer secure transactions, encrypting all information that is entered in the page. To check that the page is secure, look for the security certificate in the form of a small yellow padlock next to the toolbar or in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Don’t use shared or public computers for making transactions or operations that require you to enter passwords or other personal details.
  • Have an effective security solution installed, capable of detecting both known and new malware strains.

Panda Security offers users several free tools for scanning computers for malware, like Panda Cloud Antivirus: www.cloudantivirus.com.

iTunes Used as Lure to Steal Banking Details

  • Apple’s popular service has become a target for hackers looking for confidential bank data
  • The email is a fake iTunes receipt corresponding to a purchase the user hasn’t made.

According to Panda Security, Apple’s popular iTunes platform has become the target of hackers looking to reach millions of potential victims -who every day enter their credit card details in this device- in order to steal this data and infect them.

Victims of this malware attack receive a cleverly crafted email informing them that they have made an expensive purchase using their iTunes device. The user, who has not made this purchase using the platform, is concerned by the email and rapidly tries to resolve the problem by clicking on a link in the email.

After clicking the link the user is asked to download a PDF reader, which is a fake. Once installed, this program redirects the user to infected Web pages (mostly Russian) containing banker Trojans among other malware which steal the user’s personal details. 

“Phishing is nothing new”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “What never ceases to surprise us is that the techniques used to trick victims continue to be so simple, although the design and content is often very well worked. It’s often difficult not to fall in the trap.”

Panda suggests that in order to avoid becoming a victim of this new attack, users should not enter platforms such as iTunes through email notifications. Rather, enter the website from the platform itself. This way, users can also check their account status in real time from the account itself, and thus recognize an attempt at phishing.

This technique has been reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, who has started to block some of the Web addresses linked to in the fake email. 

“We advise all users to be wary of any emails of this type, now matter how genuine they might seem”, concludes Matthews.

If you think you may have been affected, Panda advises you scan your computer thoroughly to locate any possible active threats. If you do not have an antivirus installed, you can use the free Panda Cloud Antivirus, available from www.cloudantivirus.com.

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

Follow Panda Security South Africa @PandaSecurityZA

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