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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!

Mac gets Panda Antivirus

–       Protection for Mac desktops and laptops against all types of threats for Mac OS X and Windows as well as  scanning of other Apple devices: iPhone, iPad and iPod

–       In 2010, 175 vulnerabilities were detected on the Mac operating system

Panda Security has announced the launch of Panda Antivirus for Mac. This new solution delivers complete protection against all types of malware able to affect Mac OS, Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. This new system protects users not just against threats specifically designed to target the Apple platform, but also prevents Mac users from transmitting malware to other operating systems.

Panda Antivirus for Mac scans files and email, detecting, eliminating or blocking all types of threats, like Trojans, spyware and botnets, initially designed for Windows, but which also affect Mac.

“Mac security was something Panda needed to address”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “Because of Apple’s growing popularity, due to products like the iPad, it has become a target for hackers looking to exploit all widely used products.”

The Mac solution includes two scan engines: an on-access scan or resident protection, protecting the computer at all times and alert to any security incident, and an on-demand scan, allowing users to launch scans of the complete system or specific components. It can also scan Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod, thereby ensuring that if any of these devices is carrying malware, it won’t infect other similar devices or Mac computers.

Mac security

Despite the sense of security among the Mac community, there are currently some 5,000 classified strains of malware that specifically affect Apple systems, with around 500 new samples appearing every month. In addition, there are approximately 170,000 macro viruses that Panda has cataloged throughout its 20-year history, and Mac users are also vulnerable to these viruses.

Moreover, in 2009 some 34 vulnerabilities were detected in the Mac OS. So far in 2010, this figure has risen to 175, which is considerably in relation to Apple’s global market share.

“We have always held the theory that when Apple reaches a more significant market share, around 15% worldwide (which given its current rapid growth will be achieved shortly), hackers will begin to target attacks against this platform”, says Ivan Fermon, SVP Product Management of Panda Security. “We would even say that today, the Windows operating system is more secure than Mac, simply because Microsoft has been working proactively on security for many years. As the Apple system has yet to be seriously threatened, it may contain more vulnerabilities than those we are aware of, which could be exploited to launch ‘zero-day attacks’ similar to those against Windows”, he concludes.

This theory is supported by analysts like Chris Christiansen, of IDC: “Most Mac users take security too lightly. In fact, most are quite proud of the fact that they don’t run any security at all. That’s an open door and at some point it will be exploited.” (http://www.macnn.com/articles/07/12/31/mac.os.x.a.growing.target/).

Mac users are not just open to infection from malware specifically designed for the platform, but they can also be transmitting Windows threats without realizing –and therefore helping spread viruses, worms and Trojans, which is a crime in many countries. However, Panda is offering an early solution against the growing threats that Mac users face.

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

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

Teens use ‘Code 9’ to block Parents on Social Networks

  • ‘Code 9’ advises kids and teenagers on how to stop parents from seeing what they are doing and writing on social networks

A few years ago, a technique called ‘Code 9′ was developed and spread among teens and children via email. These emails described techniques to help disguise and hide their chat messages and conversations from parents. Global IT vendor Panda Security has detected the resurgence of these messages, which are now being distributed across social networks like Facebook and Myspace.

According to the latest Kids on the Web security survey, published by Panda in June this year, one in three teenagers has contacted strangers across social networks, “Something that criminal minds are no doubt aware of and will exploit to contact children”, warns Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations.

“Interestingly, when you visit the profiles and pages created to spread ‘Code 9’ and you look at the followers and friends, there aren’t many young people. In fact it’s quite the opposite, which gives us an indication as to the sort of people who are interested in distributing this type of information”.

‘Code 9’ itself is really simple: It tells children/teens that to hide their conversations in chat rooms or messaging, all they need to do is mention or write the number ‘9’ whenever their parents or guardians are close by. The other person will then rapidly change the topic or delete any information exchanged.

Pic of a typical ‘Code 9’ message available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4879123608/

During the holiday periods, many children and teenagers spend more time than usual on the computer. This is a good time to ensure that our children are using the Internet safely and responsibly.

“We always advise that the best way to achieve this is for parents and children to have a relationship based on trust, so it is not necessary to be constantly monitoring kids while they’re on social networks and the like. It also helps to have an Internet Security product that allows parents to restrict access to unwanted sites”, concludes Matthews.  

Since 1990, Panda’s mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible, offering clients’ maximum security. To do so, Panda 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 Security’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 specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), and who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and resource-friendly solutions for clients.

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

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

10 tell-tale signs of PC infection

  • Does your computer talk to you? Can’t use the Internet? Have your files disappeared? You might be infected…

Users are often advised to use an antivirus to check if their systems are infected, but with the current cyber-crime scenario, this is simply not enough.

“It takes a least a basic grasp of security issues to work out if a computer is infected, and many first-time users have little or no idea” says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “However, while many of today’s threats are specifically designed to go undetected, there are still some tell-tale signs if a system has been compromised.”

Global IT vendor Panda Security has produced a simple guide to the 10 most common symptoms of infection, to help users identify if their systems are at risk:

1. My computer speaks to me: There are all types of pop-ups and messages on the desktop either advertising things, saying that the PC is infected and needs protection etc. This is a typical, surefire case of an infection. There is either spyware on the computer, or it has been infected by a fake antivirus also known as “rogueware”.

2. My computer is running extremely slowly: This could be a symptom of many things, including infection by a virus. If it has been infected by a virus, worm or Trojan, among other things, which are running on the computer, they could be running tasks that consume a lot of resources, making the system run more slowly than usual.

3. Applications won’t start: How many times have you tried to run an application from the start menu or desktop and nothing happens? Sometimes another program might even run. This could be another type of problem, but it’s a symptom that tells you that something is wrong.

4. I cannot connect to the Internet or it runs very slowly: Loss of Internet communication is another common symptom of infection, although it could also be due to a problem with your service provider or router. You might also have a connection that runs much more slowly than usual. If you have been infected, the malware could be connecting to a URL or opening separate connection sessions, thereby reducing your available bandwidth or making it impossible to use the Internet.

5. When I connect to the Internet, all types of windows open or the browser displays pages I have not requested: This is certain sign of infection. Many threats are designed to redirect traffic to certain websites against the user’s will, and can even spoof Web pages, making you think you are on a legitimate site when really you have been taken to a malicious imitation. 

6. Where have my files gone? Hopefully nobody will be asking this type of question, although there are still some threats around designed to delete or encrypt information and to move documents from one place to another. If you find yourself in this situation, get help as quickly as possible.

 7. My antivirus has disappeared, my firewall is disabled: Another typical characteristic of many threats is that they disable security systems (antivirus, firewall, etc.) installed on computers. Perhaps if one thing shuts down it might just be a specific software failure; but if all your security components are disabled, you are almost certainly infected.

 8. My computer is speaking a strange language: If the language of certain applications changes, the screen appears back-to-front or strange insects start ‘eating’ the desktop; it is likely that you have an infected system.

 9. Library files for running games, programs, etc. have disappeared from my computer: Once again, this could be a sign of infection, although it could also be down to incomplete or incorrect installation of programs.

10. My computer has gone mad… literally: If the computer starts acting on its own, you suddenly find your system has been sending emails without your knowledge, Internet sessions or applications open sporadically on their own, your system is probably compromised by malware.

Panda advises all users, who have identified with one or more of the scenarios above, to look for alternative security applications to the one (if any) they have installed. Users don’t need to uninstall their existing application; but can simply use a free, online antivirus such as Panda ActiveScan. Alternatively, they can install an antivirus that is compatible with other engines, such as Panda Cloud Antivirus, which is also free.

“Getting a second opinion on the health of your PC could save your data, your privacy and in many cases, your money”, concludes Matthews.

More information is available in 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/.

Q1 saw 10% increase of new spyware

Panda Security’s new quarterly malware report has revealed that Trojans have accounted for 73% of all new malware created during the first few months of 2009 while the distribution of spyware has grown rapidly to 13.15%, up from a mere 2.5% in the previous quarter.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of spyware in circulation aimed, in all likelihood, at saturating laboratories and consequently infecting more users,” says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda Security’s sub-Saharan operations.

In some cases, cyber-crooks have been successful, as in the case of the Virtumonde spyware, which infected more computers than any other malicious code in the first quarter of 2009. This malware combines aspects of adware and spyware, monitoring users’ Internet movements, rigging search engine results and displaying advertising banners, pop-ups, etc. for some products. Despite the notable growth of spyware, though, it is still way behind Trojans (31.51%) and adware (21.13%), in terms of the number of infections caused overall during this period.

The region with the highest percentage of active malware continues to be Taiwan (31.7%). Brazil and Turkey are also noteworthy. They occupy second and third place respectively, overtaking Spain and the United States. Mexico, nevertheless, has witnessed a decrease in the amount of active malware (17.95%), dropping almost 10% compared to the 24.87% active malware average recorded for the whole of 2008.

Conficker: the major threat

Although it first appeared at the end of 2008, the Conficker worm has been the malicious code that has kept security companies busiest during the past few months, due to the large number of infections caused between December 2008 and January 2009. Moreover, there was considerable concern about its supposed reactivation on April 1. However, until now, no new versions or additional infections have been detected other than those already associated to the previously active variants.

“It is still possible that at any moment one of the URLs created by Conficker on April 1 could be activated and the worm could download an update to its code or new malware. In any event, this would only affect users who are unprotected against Conficker,’ says Matthews.

The Panda report also includes information about other issues such as the Waledac worm, which had an impact around St. Valentine’s Day, malware on social networks and the most important vulnerabilities detected during the first three months of the year. You can download it here.