Excedeo Blog

Excedeo has been serving the San Diego area since 2003, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Four Things Your Antivirus Fights

Four Things Your Antivirus Fights

Does your business need an antivirus solution to keep threats out of your network? It’s a simple question with a simple answer, but some companies still don’t see the need for antivirus software on their computers. They might think they are immune, but hackers know the truth--and it’s all too apparent in the face of a data loss incident that hindsight is 20/20.

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Why You Should Read the Fine Print Before Downloading Adware

Why You Should Read the Fine Print Before Downloading Adware

Has this ever happened to you? You come across a free app online that seems interesting, entertaining, or helpful so you decide to download it? However, as soon as you click the download button you regret it as it begins to install browser toolbars, adware, and other annoying (and potentially dangerous) software onto your device? How can you keep this “crapware” from getting too out of hand, and why is it so popular in the first place?

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3 Common Threats You Need to Know About: Malware, Rootkits, and Trojans

3 Common Threats You Need to Know About: Malware, Rootkits, and Trojans

Security is one of the most important parts of running a business, especially today when organizations rely so heavily on their technology solutions. Some of the most dangerous threats lurk on a business’s network, watching and waiting for an opportunity to do some real damage. With the right preventative measures, your business can catch these threats in the act before they can accomplish their goals.

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Advanced Malware is Targeted, Stealthy, Evasive, and Adaptive

b2ap3_thumbnail_advanced_malware_presents_threats_400.jpgThe online world is a scary place. Viruses, malware, spyware, adware, and more are all out there trying to get at your network. These threats are almost always prevalent, but compared to each other, some are vastly superior and far more dangerous and advanced than the others. Advanced malware has the potential to disrupt your business’s operations, cause extensive data loss, and more.

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New Lenovo PCs come with Security Vulnerability

     I have always disliked all of the extraneous software that comes pre-installed on new computers, but Lenovo has shown just how bad this can be.  Lenovo computers are shipping with pre-installed adware which could be used to hijack your secure internet connections with a man-in-the-middle attack.  The software in question is Superfish.  Superfish is suppose to be a image search tool which Lenovo is using to place ads in your Google search results.  According to a Lenovo administrator: 

"Superfish comes with Lenovo consumer products only and is a technology that helps users find and discover products visually. The technology instantly analyzes images on the web and presents identical and similar product offers that may have lower prices, helping users search for images without knowing exactly what an item is called or how to describe it in a typical text-based search engine."

     Adding additional ads to your search results is bad enough, but exposing your secure information, such as banking information, is inexcusable.  When you establish a secure internet connection, certificates are used to verify that the sites you visit are truly who they say that they are.  Lenovo is using a self-signed certificate which makes it appear as a trusted party.  With this certificate Superfish could generate its own encryption certificates for any site with out the user being aware.

     Lenovo could use this to spy on their customers but worse yet hackers could use this security vulnerability to spy on you and steal your private information.  The hackers only need to discover the private key which Superfish used to sign its certificate.  Robert Graham of Errata Security reports to have cracked the password "komodia" with a simple password cracker he wrote.  It also appears that all of the certificates use the same password.  You can read his posting here.  At least Lenovo now seems to recognize the problem.

"Due to some issues (browser pop up behavior for example), with the Superfish Visual Discovery browser add-on, we have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues. As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues."

If you have recently purchased a Lenovo computer you should definitely check it for Superfish and remove it immediately.  But please note that just uninstalling the software will not fix the problem, the root certificate has to be removed.  To check for the Superfish software open Control Panel > Programs and Features and look for a program named VisualDiscovery and uninstall it.  Then to remove the certificate press the Windows Key + R and run the certificate manager program certmgr.msc.  Open the Trusted Root Certification Authorities folder, open the Certificates folder, and delete the Superfish record.

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Unified Threat Management: Ultimate Protection for a New Era

b2ap3_thumbnail_data_and_network_security_400.jpgEverything changes in due time. Computers grow less secure, malware grows more sophisticated, and hackers' methods change. According to Processor magazine, 80 to 90 percent of attacks are targeted at devices rather than networks and servers. Just like the weakest link in a fence, all it takes is one weak point for a hacker to take down your entire network.

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