Operation Pawn Storm targets out of date iOS users

There is a new attempt to compromise your iPhone or iPad.  It attempts to load a rogue application onto your phone using a method used by developers to test their software before it is approved by the Apple App Store Process.

There may be other methods of infection that are used to install this particular malware. One possible scenario is infecting an iPhone after connecting it to a compromised or infected Windows laptop via a USB cable.

However, in order to do this, you have to help the hackers.  The attempt will pop a number of dialog boxes asking for your confirmation to install an app.

What should I do?

Make sure you are running the most recent version of the operating system for your device.  If you have an older device that cannot run iOS8, be sure not to just click allow.

For more information see the Trend Micro Blog

Adobe Flash ZeroDay Exploit in the wild

Trend Micro has identified a new Flash ZeroDay exploit.

ZeroDay? Whatchootalkinaboutwillis?

A ZeroDay Exploit is when a new bug is found in an application like Adobe Flash that is discovered, but no protective or ameliorative patch is available yet.  This means “YOU ARE AT HIGH RISK OF BEING COMPROMISED”.  This one is a real problem, because the attack vector relies on infected ads on otherwise trusted sites.

What can you do?

Install the latest patch whenever Adobe releases it.  Limit your web browsing, and don’t think you are impervious to exploit.

You can read more about the exploit here on Trend-Micro’s blog

Computer Security is hard…unless you learn these rules.

Infoworld has an excellent article on computer security.

To summarize it for you:

1- Patch the popular software first – and do it as soon as the patch is announced

2 – Don’t fall prey to the scams (social engineering) You are more likely to get scammed from sites you “trust” than those you don’t.  Don’t EVER give information to unsolicited callers.  Know what programs you have installed and ignore threat warnings from software you don’t recognize.

3-Don’t use the same password in multiple locations.  If one site gets hacked, that password is added to the dictionary so it can be used to try to hack other locations.

4 – 2 Factor authentication has its benefits.  Sure it is a pain in the butt, but if you are concerned about the security of your information/accounts, then the additional inconvenience is worth it.

URL in the lower corner of Chrome

let’s try the “help me clayton” .. i have read a little about it already and it seems to be a bug in chrome itself. maybe you know about it too. when i use chrome in the lower left corner a url keeps showing when i move my cursor over a picture or button.

That is actually a feature that shows you where links are supposed to take you.  However the problem is that when you click on the full screen button in a video, it keeps displaying the URL over the video screen on Windows versions of Chrome.
There are a number of work arounds that have varying degrees of success, but the folks on the Chrome development team have acknowledged this as a bug and have a fix waiting for the next release of Chrome……so stay tuned

I just got a call…..

from geeksupportlive, a very nice man called to tell me that he was calling from geeksupportlive and that they are getting reports from my computer that I have a lot of viruses.  That due to the agreement that they have with Microsoft, they are contacting people who have infected machines and offering to scan them for free…..

Luckily there were a few things going for me:

1 – My Mac was definitely not reporting back to their servers that my windows was infected

2 – the words computer virus and infection do not scare me

3 – ooops their call was answered by someone who probably knows more about the computers than they do in their sweatshop call center in India

How did I get so lucky to get this call the day after I started this blog?  After putting the gentleman on hold while I went to my computer and started it up (amazing how the computer can report viruses to their server when it is not on) and then a few more minutes while I “took another call from my son” I then was directed to go to a site to download a remote management tool.

Kudos to the website administrators of ammyy.com – a free remote administration tool for putting a warning up on their website that reads:  Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.06.42 PM



Remote management tools are very powerful tools, and in the hands of the wrong person, can do a great deal of damage to your computer and your privacy.

NEVER give access to someone that you don’t know..

But wait, I don’t know you

well if you call me then you are the one who initiated the contact, if I ask you to load a remote administration tool it is because you have asked me for help.  Beware the unsolicited caller bearing gifts…..they might just be a big wooden horse.

Well after I read them that disclaimer, Tyson told me that I was seeing that because my computer was clearly infected because his screen was not showing that link.  He transferred me to his Senior Support Technician who assured me that I had one of the worst cases of infection that he had encountered, and that I needed to do something IMMEDIATELY!  He then directed me to showmypc – another remote admin tool – this time without the warnings…..

ooops hold on I got another call……

21 minutes later …. click

Don’t be taken in by the scammers.  I have a long list of people that I can refer you to for testimonials.

Malware and Spyware and Viruses…oh my!

I frequently get calls that go something like this:

“Hi I need you to come over to take a look at my computer, it seems like it is really slow, and I can’t do the things I used to on it.”  Whenever I hear this, I used to think that a hard drive needed to be defragmented….but that is rarely the problem these days.  Now it is malware, spyware, browser hjacks, host redirects, registry hijacks, crapware (I use this term for software that gets installed alongside something that you want, but you have no real use for).

The reality is that I get these calls mostly from people using windows, and I hear “I never go to any bad websites or anything”…

The reality is that you don’t need to go to bad websites to pick up malware.  Hackers infect popular servers in the hopes that they will be able to infect unsuspecting visitors.  These “drive-by” exploits are often discovered in a matter of hours and removed.  However, they rarely announce to their visitors that they were compromised and that they should inspect their systems …… so the people who visited early on never suspect that they are now carriers.

“But I have an antivirus program already installed”

That may be true, but no antivirus program is perfect.  They rely on various methods to detect “known and unknown” bits of code…the hackers are working hard to find ways around that detection.  Your antivirus may also not be designed to detect malware – they are usually designed specifically to prevent the spread of viruses.

“So what am I supposed to do?  Why is this so confusing?”

Get into a habit of checking your machine regularly.  There are plenty of free tools available that will allow you to do this for yourself for free – but like a gym membership – it does no good unless you use it.  If you rely on your computer for more than just entertainment, do it every week.  If all you do is surf the net and watch netflix or hulu, then every couple weeks to once a month should be fine.

“I don’t have time for that!”

Well, if that is the case you have 2 options –

1. Do nothing and wait til your machine can no longer function (kinda like a car when you don’t take time for an oil change) or…

2. Call someone to take care of it for you (kinda like going to the quick-change oil store)

This is where HelpMeClayton.com comes into help. I offer a subscription service that will do the routine maintenance for you, remotely if you like, on a regularly scheduled routine.  This cannot guarantee that you will never get any malware, spyware or crapware, but it is a good step into making sure your machine is cleaned regularly.

If you are interested in scheduling a regular maintenance send me an email at help@claytonrandall.com and I will get back to you.