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Record Participation in the Panda Challenge 2010 with almost 5000 entrants from 91 countries

  • Vladimir Gneushev won the first phase of the Challenge, as the quickest of the 11 correct solutions
  • No one fully resolved the second phase of the Challenge. Iván Otero was declared the winner after correctly solving the second part

Panda Security reports that nearly 5000 people from 91 countries took part in the 2010 Panda Challenge. Organised by PandaLabs, Panda’s anti-malware laboratory, this year’s Challenge involved two separate high-tech teasers.

The winner of the first phase of the Challenge, launched on July 17, was Vladimir Gneushev, the first person to send in the correct solution. Suprisingly, only eleven participants managed to correctly resolve the problem.

The second phase of the Challenge, published on July 24, comprised of two parts. The first challenge was to find a valid license key for a program. However, no participants managed to do this and so the prize was awarded to Ivan Otero, who was the first to send in the solution to the second section of the test.

“For the second year running we’ve been amazed by the great response to the Panda Challenge, particularly given the technical difficulty involved in these tests”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “It’s incredible that, despite participants entering from all across the globe, no one found the complete correct solution to the second test”.

The winners will receive their prize of an iPad in the next few days.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

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

SC Magazine awards Panda 5 stars for their Business Solutions

  • Panda Security’s business solutions recognized for their superior ease of use, protection features and value.

Global IT vendor Panda Security announced that two of its solutions for small and medium sized businesses, Panda GateDefender Integra and Panda Security for Business v4.05, have been given 5-star product ratings by SC Magazine.

In its review, SC Magazine lauded Panda GateDefender Integra for its excellent price and protection functionality. The unified threat management (UTM) appliance provides businesses with centralised protection from all types of internet-borne threats, including firewall, intrusion prevention, anti-malware, content filtering, anti-spam and web filtering.

“With Panda GateDefender Integra, businesses can install and protect their corporate perimeters in minutes without the need for any user intervention”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “This makes it the only install and protect UTM solution on the market.”

SC Magazine also recognized Panda Security for Business, the company’s all-in-one security software suite, for its simple installation process, superior protection features and product documentation. SC noted that the product offers “lots of features and extensive support for different operating systems and devices.”

Panda Security for Business is also the only on-premise security solution for gateways, e-mail networks and endpoints that benefits from instantaneous and automated, cloud-driven malware protection while still retaining all in-house security controls.

The recent 5-star ratings follow a string of positive reviews of Panda’s corporate products. This includes a 4-star rating in by SC Magazine of Panda GateDefender Performa 9500, the company’s all-in-one appliance for high-performance web filtering and perimeter protection against Internet-borne malware and spam.

Like all Panda products, the Panda GateDefender line as well as Panda Security for Business, benefit from the company’s unique cloud-based Collective Intelligence database. Collective Intelligence draws from the knowledge and experience of millions of users to deliver the most comprehensive, instantaneous and non-intrusive protection against known and unknown malware.

For more information about Panda Security’s corporate solutions, please visit www.pandasecurity.com/enterprise/

Panda Security launches new version of Panda Cloud Office Protection

Global IT Vendor Panda Security has launched version 5.04.50 of Panda Cloud Office Protection (PCOP), its cloud-based security solution for corporate endpoints.

“The new version includes a host of new features and improvements which provides companies with an even more effective solution for malware detection and prevention”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations.

One of the version’s top new features is its compatibility with Office 2010, as well as its ability to scan the email messages stored in Windows Live Mail. It also incorporates new technologies to prevent infections from unknown malware. These technologies are capable of blocking threats even if the user is offline at the time of detection (identification processes take place in the cloud), or if the malware strain is new. Automatic verdicts are also returned directly, indicating whether the file is malware or goodware.

The new PCOP also contains a small signature file that only includes data about the most active malware every day. These file updates are truly automatic and do not require administrator intervention to deploy and implement them on every workstation on the network.

Since Panda Security started selling its cloud-based security suites last year, the company has achieved growth ratios well above the market average. In 2009, the company’s worldwide growth in this market segment reached 122% (compared to 2008), accounting for 20% of the company’s corporate revenue. This outstanding growth reflects the many benefits that a cloud-based security solution provides to clients.

Panda Cloud Office Protection can be sold separately or as part of the Panda Cloud Protection suite. This new solution complements Panda Security’s cloud-based, SaaS security products covering the main infection vectors: endpoints and servers (Panda Cloud Office Protection); corporate email (Panda Cloud Email Protection) and Internet traffic (Panda Cloud Internet Protection).

For more information and a free product trial go to http://cloudprotection.pandasecurity.com.

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

Social network apps used to aid housebreaking

With the boom in social networks and the numerous applications now available for sharing information across the Internet, global IT vendor Panda Security advises users to take extra precautions in order to prevent falling victim to computer fraud.

“This year we advise users to take particular care with the information they share across social networks”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “This applies particularly to applications used to plan journeys or to locate people geographically through GPS devices, as this information could easily be exploited and used to aid housebreaking.”

These types of applications have become highly popular over the last year. Facebook apps such as Doorpl or Trip Advisor (which show messages describing where you are or where and when you are planning to go); the Twitter geolocation utility (displaying where tweets have been sent from), or services for locating mobile devices through GPS (now widely employed by iPhone or Android users), are just a few examples.

While many of these programs are interesting and fun, the problem lies in the exploitation of this information by criminals. The emergence (and closure) of services like Pleaserobme, which as its name suggests, connects with these applications to offer information about who is not at home, is just one example of the abuse of these applications. “This underlines how careless we can be as users when offering personal information publicly”, adds Matthews.

There are numerous precautions that users are encouraged to take in order to prevent being exploited during the holiday season.

Users who take their PC’s with them on holiday are advised to back up all their information as they face the risk of having their PC’s stolen or breaking down while away. In addition they are advised to have reliable, up-to-date protection with all the necessary security patches installed.  

Although encrypting the information on their hard disks may seem a tiresome or complex task, is another strong security measure Panda encourages users to take as it prevents anyone from accessing data without the right password.

Furthermore, users should never connect to unprotected WiFi networks, as they could be hooking up to a network set up by hackers to steal any information that they share across the Internet. It is always better to use secure, trusted networks, even if it means paying more. Lastly, users are advised to take care with email as phishing attacks and spam are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

In addition to this holiday advice, there are constant precautions that should always be taken.

No one should use applications for planning journeys offered by social networks, to ensure that you can’t be located. Similarly, users shouldn’t accept the geolocation function in Twitter or use this application from their cell phones.

Users who do spend time in chat rooms while on holiday should also never reveal any personal or confidential details to anyone unknown. If users notice any suspicious behavior on social networks (strangers with too much of an interest in your holiday destination, dates, etc.) they should contact the police. All these safety tips should be shared with children, who are more naïve than their parents and therefore make easier targets.

“In addition to the above, it is worth remembering some of the basic security measures at this time of year. Turn off your router when you leave home, beware of typical, holiday-themed phishing, take care with dubious looking websites, as many of them are designed to infect your computer… and, above all, have a great holiday”, concludes Matthews.

More information is available at the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

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

iPads infected with iPhone virus

Panda  Security has found that malware designed to infect iPhones can also compromise the popular iPad.

Given the increasing popularity of Apple devices and their growing market share, malware designed specifically to target these platforms is beginning to attract more attention. Last year, Panda raised the alert about a worm, iPhone/Eeki, able to infect jailbroken iPhones (i.e. those that have been tampered with in order to install unofficial applications). The worm was also able to spread to iPod Touch.

Logically, all malware designed for iPhones will have the same ability to infect and spread to iPad devices. This is because the iPad and the iPhone share the same operating system, known as iPhone (v3), or iOS (v4) in the forthcoming version.

‘This doesn’t mean we’re about to face an avalanche of infections’, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. ‘However, we have always stated that as Apple takes more market share, cyber-crooks will begin to show more interest in targeting those that use this platform.’

Despite the fact that Apple decided to totally close off the hardware (making it impossible to install peripherals) and the software (all applications are installed from the manufacturer’s App Store) cyber-criminals have found a way to infect jailbroken devices with malware.

‘With more and more proof of Apple being targeted, we advise all Mac users to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to increase security on their operating systems’ concludes Matthews.

Since 1990, Panda’s mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible in order to offer maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda’s new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99.4% of malware detected by Panda is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented by the work of several teams, each specialised in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc).This translates into simple, secure and resource-friendly solutions for users.

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

World Cup used as bait to spread rogueware

Panda Security has reported the recent appearance of a number of web pages distributing the MySecurityEngine fake antivirus. All of these pages appear in top web search results related to the 2010 South Africa Soccer World Cup.

“The FIFA World Cup is a worldwide event that, logically, hackers are taking advantage of”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. Users looking for information regarding the World Cup are advised to only access reliable websites and be careful when clicking on links returned by search engines. “We expect to see attacks like this increase over the next few days.”

These techniques, called Black Hat Seo attacks, started being used by hackers a couple of years ago. Since then, they have become increasingly sophisticated, managing to place rogue websites among the top’s search results in search engine listings. The system is very simple: when users look for information about major sports events such as this, the results returned correspond to rogue Web pages professionally indexed to rank high. If the user clicks the link, they will be asked to download a file, such as a codec. If they do so, they will be inadvertently installing a fake antivirus program on their computer.

Users are advised to take all the necessary precautions when visiting Web pages through search engines. Making sure that sources are reliable and rejecting all downloads is key remaining uninfected. “The best piece of advice is to use common sense when surfing the Web. Reject requests from strangers and do not open any files that come from unfamiliar sources” says Matthews. “It’s advisable to make sure you have the proper virus protection on your computer and that it is up to date. There are free solutions like Panda Cloud Antivirus that protect computers against this type of threat.”

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