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Security Hardware

Digital Picture Frames Infected by Trojan Viruses 174

CR0WTR0B0T writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is running a story on viruses loaded into digital picture frames, similar to the ones we discussed at the end of last year. The difference is in the virus used: 'The authors of the new Trojan Horse are well-funded professionals whose malware has 'specific designs to capture something and not leave traces ... This would be a nuclear bomb of malware.' Apparently, a number of regular folks have hooked them up to their home computer and loaded the virus. And if you think you're too smart to be fooled, apparently the Anti-Virus software makers have not caught up to the threat quite yet."
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Digital Picture Frames Infected by Trojan Viruses

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  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @07:58AM (#22444526) Homepage
    - Run an OS that does not automatically try to mount devices, without user interaction.
    - Run an OS that does not execute programs on devices once mounted, without user interaction but preferably not at all. (Autorun, I'm looking at you)

    Although what doesn't seem to mentioned specifically is if the viruses are contained on the memory of the frames themselves (i.e. just like any other removeable drive) or whether they are on some sort of driver/bundle CD. It does seem to hint that it means the device itself, which begs the question how is it getting executed? Is there a setup.exe that autoruns like on certain brands of USB drive (DUMB IDEA OF THE CENTURY)? Are there infected data files like JPEG's that just so happen to allow execution of their code on certain OS's? Is there an actual executable that isn't supposed to be on there at all that autoruns or waits for the user to double-click it?

    Either way, it's hardly a brilliant way to spread and only a dozen or so people seem to have been affected out of whichever country it's talking about (presumably the US). That sounds more like they had the virus already and it made its way onto their digital photo frames when they first connected them. Yes, it's a worry that malicious code could make its way onto a consumer device at the factory, but more at fault here are the OS and the user practices - we had all this back in the 80's/90's... don't take floppies off people you don't trust without scanning them first. Have we seriously come full-circle to the same dumb, preventable "problem"?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:41AM (#22444696)

      - Run an OS that does not automatically try to mount devices, without user interaction.

      And this would help HOW? Maybe it'd allow certain wiseguys to point at and blame the user for mounting the volumne in question - but ordinary users who just want to put pictures on their frame would *have* to mount it it, and it doesn't matter whether you have to click or whether it happens automatically. In fact, given that you'll likely only ever plug in the frame when you actually do want to access it, automounting seems like a good idea that does save you work in this case.

      Automatically running code without the user asking for it is another issue, of course - that is a colossally stupid idea indeed, yes.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:04AM (#22444780)
      The picture itself in not a virus, rather it becomes one when the malformed image causes some type of overflow /exploit to the program that renders that picture
      , so not having something run auomatioally doesn't really matter, when you do open the picture it Runs by exploiting a flaw in the program that renders it. whether it starts automatically or not is of less relevance.

      This fact isn't being made very clear in this forum or the document.
        Pictures are not viruses they ar caused to become one on very specific software that render them .
      EX: The same image when viewed or if even viewable on different rendering software will have no effect .

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CR0WTR0B0T ( 944711 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:05AM (#22444786)
      The article is saying that these were found to be infected at the point of purchase. These picture frames are designed to be user friendly and will hook up via USB cable and scan your PC for your digital media. They have software loaded on them to play pictures, AVI, and for some odd reason MP3s. The real issue here is the Ma and Pa who bought their new PC at BestBuy to look at pictures of their grandkids and surf the web are at risk. Even the PC already loaded with anti-virus software isn't protected. As soon as they hook up the frame to start downloading the pictures, the virus is activated. Good thing is this round steals someone's online gaming passwords (WOW?), which likely won't affect many since hardcore gamers aren't likely to use digital picture frames. Next round could be mining for TurboTax information or passwords to play Global Thermonuclear War with WOPR [].
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
        > hardcore gamers aren't likely to use digital picture frames

        you plucked this assertion out of your ass
        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

          by CR0WTR0B0T ( 944711 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:35AM (#22444906)
          Yes. I wondered why my chair was so lumpy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by John3 ( 85454 )

          > hardcore gamers aren't likely to use digital picture frames

          you plucked this assertion out of your ass

          Since there are somewhere over 8 million WoW players (as an example) then I'd have to agree with your comment about the source of the assertion. Many, many of the WoW gamers I chat with online have difficulty upgrading video drivers and managing their PC. If they want to proudly display their WoW toons to their friends of course they will buy a digital picture frame at Best Buy.

        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

          by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:26PM (#22447456)

          hardcore gamers aren't likely to use digital picture frames
          you plucked this assertion out of your ass
          I'd hazard a guess that he's right. Aren't the photos people display in frames usually of friends, lovers, or spouses?
    • You can try to prevent all the attack vectors, but it has nothing to do with "the OS" or "the user", but it's more todays design of security. You can't guard yourself against malware in anyway, the only way to make it harder is not using a computer like normal people do, not allowing the normal vectors to be exploitable.

      But if everyone used the computer this way, the attackers would just adapt.

      The problem is homogenity, there is no one solution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rah1420 ( 234198 )
      How about 'don't log in as administrator?' Another helpful tip to prevent issues. I wonder if this virus would be able to infect a PC if a "lowly" user plugged in the USB?
    • >Is there a setup.exe that autoruns like on certain brands of USB drive (DUMB IDEA OF THE CENTURY)?

      Is this true? windows autoruns on CDs and fixed disks. You need to go out of your way to enable autorun on a usb drive. The drive needs to support auto-assist notification. These usb drives dont. Ive handled many a digital frame and have not seen them do anything like this. I know this is slashdot which is the source for MS FUD, but does anyone have some proof that these infected frames actually do run co
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gallwapa ( 909389 )
        Autorun functions on most (any?) usb device with autorun.inf. You don't have to enable it.
        Run procmon when you plug in a usb storage device, watch and see.
        • Bullshit, this is what happens when you config an autorun.inf and use the open command to start a program:


          Right a big GUI prompt, not a stealth start.

          Straight from microsoft:

          Q: What must I do to trigger Autorun on my USB storage device?
          The Autorun capabilities are restricted to CD-ROM drives and fixed disk drives. If you need to make a USB storage device perform Autorun, the device must not be marked as a removable media device and the device must cont
          • by WNight ( 23683 )
            Rare, are they? []

            And obviously, it'd be impossible to tinker with the firmware such that 'normal' USB drives self-reported as CDs...

            You're obviously the one tossing around FUD. Shame on you.
            • These drives exist, yes, no one is denying that. Like I wrote above its not typical. Has the person who is making all these claims proven that the USB memory on these picture frames have this bit set? Yeah, I'm not holding my breath.

              >You're obviously the one tossing around FUD. Shame on you.

              Oh piss off, if youre unwilling to read my posts and think about what is being claimed then youre just another "me too" guy towing the slashdot line.
              • by WNight ( 23683 )
                Those flash drives are easily available, that autorun things. If an attacker wanted that feature, they'd buy that brand. As for picture frames, it seems easy to imagine the same process that puts the trojan on, at the factory, also flipping that bit.

                Windows autoruns things that want to be autorun. You are right that there's a small roadblock in there, but obviously not much of one.

                And most definitely you cannot tell by physically looking at the media, if it contains an autorun script.

                Honestly, think about i
          • by saskboy ( 600063 )
            This gets around quickly in a computer lab with USB autorun:


      • by ledow ( 319597 )
        Er... well... I've personally come across several brands of USB drive that automatically ran programs on stock Windows installs from manufacturers (maybe Dell or somebody turned the options on, I don't know, the point it is shouldn't even be an option). If I remember, you can even specify "actions" for USB drives to present in the "what do you want to do" dialog that appears when you pop it into a slot, quite easily. Usually USB drives have a setup.exe for encryption etc. but a lot of them are also boota
  • Where these virii are being placed on the devices is the big question. It must be someone who has access to the code or software installation process. Look at the manufacturer.

    Oh, and run a *nix-based desktop.
    • The thing is that China is doing to the world, what America did to USSR (and still doing to the world); putting hidden viruses and back doors in our products. Who should be blamed for it? American companies who are building their products in China. After all, you can blame the individual who is working to help their father or mother land.
      • Well,if "China" thinks they're going to make great strides reducing the strategic preparedness of the United States by getting game passwords and what not from low-end consumer grade electronic junk, more power to 'em.

        Keep up the good work, gentleman. Let me know when you get somewhere.

  • by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:04AM (#22444540)
    How many people does the author think use those silly picture frames?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrxak ( 727974 )
      I saw a huge stack of these things in Best Buy a few weeks ago near the registers. The people in front of me were talking about getting one, but then they pretty much decided they were worthless. I have to admit I largely agree, but then again I don't own any picture frames digital or otherwise.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CR0WTR0B0T ( 944711 )
        There were 1.7 million sold in the United States in 2006 []. These are bought by people that just want to show some pictures they took with their digital camera without having to dedicate a computer to the job. Black Friday was loaded with ads for picture frames for around $70. Given the price point, it was an attractive Christmas gift to give to anyone who may not be computer savvy. PC Magazine is predicting [] that these digital frames will become smarter to give non-computer users more capability like Vide
    • Dunno, but I do and think they are great. I started out by using my laptop screensaver to display my digital photos and kept staring at the pics going "Awwwww". Basically every digital pic goes on it. Frankly it keeps me in touch with the fun times so last year's vacation in Edinburgh doesn't already seem like a distant memory.

      Take one to work and place it where you can see it. It actually surprised me how much I love it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uncoveror ( 570620 )
      I don't know about the author, but the Chinese are convinced a lot of us use them. This is all part of China's war on us without firing a shot!. []
      • Where to start with that paranoid fantasy? Well, apart from the fact that the claims you make of China could apply to any nation on the planet, your assertions are so ridiculous I just seriously hope that is a bad copy of the Onion.
  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:07AM (#22444552) Homepage
    1. The authors of the new Trojan Horse are well-funded professionals whose malware has "specific designs to capture something and not leave traces,"

    2. Computer Associates has traced the Trojan to a specific group in China

    3. It spreads by USB drives

    4. "It is a nasty worm that has a great deal of intelligence,"

    Follow the money. My money's on an espionage tool from the Chinese government or its affiliated corporations. Let the flaming begin...I said "China" and "espionage" in the same sentence, I'm sure folks out there would like to lynch me just for even suggesting that there is such a laughable concept as espionage, or bash me for so-called China-bashing (which includes any criticism of China except those for human rights, that's OK).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sinai ( 989310 )
      Since we're all for China bashing, have a look at the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission's 2007 report [] to congress, which states, "Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies". Add to that the MI5's recent warning [] that big EU firms were being targetted for web-based espionage, and the lynch mob might have to drop their pitchforks and go think this thing over. I might sound a little
      • OK, fine and I don't disagree with you're general argument. But.

        If you're trying to covertly undermine the US military industrial complex AND your vector is low end commercial electronic junk then you aren't going to do much damage. GWB (or even a flunky in the Pentagon) is not likely to have one of these on the desk.

        And by doing this sort of low end annoyance, you've raised yet another flag that so security and supervision is heightened further. If you are responsible for securing a serious private or

    • A "nuclear bomb" virus that does not leave traces.

      What flavor of crap is that? Most nuclear bombs leave plenty of traces.

  • Just make sure nobody cares about or likes you enough to ever send you something so sappy.

    And before anyone says it, yes, yes, I'm in no danger...right. :P


  • by wehe ( 135130 ) <[wehe] [at] []> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:12AM (#22444576) Homepage Journal
    Do you want to be on the safe side and have some fun, too? Just make your custom DPF and install Linux on it. Here are some DIY instructions to make a digital picture frame from an old laptop or notebook []. And here is a survey of Linux used on selfmade digital photo frames []
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:12AM (#22444578) Journal

    Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any device into a PC.

    Oh boy, you gotta love that bit. Amusing as the suggestion that Mac's and Linux "machines" are not PC's may be, do you realize just how damning of MS software this is? SANS, a security organisations basically says that if you don't trust a piece of hardware, then it is okay to plug it into a mac or linux machine, to test wether it is safe to plug it into a windows pc.

    Is this like those warnings on tv, kids do not try this, if you want to do this experiment, get an adult to help you. Kids do not use windows blindly, if you do wish to add a new device, get someone with a real OS to help you out.

    Oh well, to all the windows using women out there, remember, the standard rate for getting a guy to help you out is ONE blowjob. Please form an orderly cue.

    • by kunwon1 ( 795332 ) *
      Best comment of the week, if not longer. Be my friend.
    • On the other hand she is implying that people may have friends running Linux. Considering that the Linux using croud is still composed mostly of geeks, and that geeks being dorks and all don't really have friends, she could have limited the options to finding someone with a Mac.

      (Disclaimer: I'm a Linux user and I have no friends.... Will you be my friend?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Oh well, to all the windows using women out there, remember, the standard rate for getting a guy to help you out is ONE blowjob. Please form an orderly cue.

      Do those sores on your mouth mean anything? No? Carry on then...
      • If they're open sores, then I'd do the malware test for free (as in beer).
        Ah, I never get tired of open source jokes.
    • by BillX ( 307153 )
      So wait, how is the Mac supposed to know and warn the user that one of the .jpegs on their USB device will trigger a Windows-specific buffer overflow expliot? FTFS, even Windows antivirus products don't yet pick this one up.
  • by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:13AM (#22444580) Homepage

    Updated antivirus software works unless the malware writers get ahead of the antivirus vendors,

    Malware writers are always ahead of antivirus writers. Antivirus was invented in response to malware & antivirus updates are dependant on new types of malware.
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:14AM (#22444586) Journal
    Well four now, since Vista was released,,

    If you're attacked and your PC fails, you'll have to reformat and reload all of the programs.
    and it triggers two of the 4 r's of Microsoft

    reboot the machine

    reload the applications *

    reformat/reinstall the OS *

    revert to the previous version

    but it must be fun cause we do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    • by TheLink ( 130905 )
      The usual:

      Retry (it might work the second try)
      Restart (the program)
      Reboot (the O/S)
      Reinstall (the program, and various versions)
      Reinstall (the O/S + application)
      Reinstall (another O/S + application)
      Retry (who knows...)
      Resume (rhymes with cafe)
      Resume (rhymes with consume)

      Then there was: plug and pray and plug and pay and plug and pray and plug and play and plug and pray and plug and yay... finally it works :).
  • Deborah Hale at SANS suggested that PC users find friends with Macintosh or Linux machines and have them check for malware before plugging any device into a PC.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:20AM (#22444610) Homepage Journal

    Don't virus writers have better thens to do?

    Unless they are vested in anti-virus software, whats teh point other than just causing countless people problems.
    • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Saturday February 16, 2008 @08:37AM (#22444676)
      It is a solid revenue stream. If malware succeeds in installing, there is profit to be made from identity theft, theft of CD keys from games, grabbing virtual assets like MMO accounts and selling them (or using the account for EULA-breaking items until the account is permanently banned), blackmail, extortion, botnet making, spam zombies, and many other nasty things

      Virus writing is highly profitable, each second a piece of malware goes unstopped on a machine is a second that the machine can continue to spew spam, spy on an internal network, or be a part of a DDoS attack.
  • I can't be the only one who thought of this: what if a virus took over the frames just to display the well known image on them, for amusement value? :)
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:07AM (#22444802) Homepage Journal
    Since there are now so many network devices in the wild without an admin user interface, and without even an admin user (except maybe some $5 an hour warranty phone tech support dweeb), the wild needs an easy way to innoculate entire network domains against viruses. We should learn from nature how to keep viruses under control. In 5-10 years, practically every human will have 1-100 infectable devices, many of them in the critical path for their convenience, work, and even human health, so we've got to get this under wraps with that deployment explosion on the horizon.

    I should be able to subscribe to an antivirus site that distributes inoculation viruses, just like in nature. Install it on my home/office server, and it gets updates which attack my own hosts the same way as the enemy virus does in the wild. But its attack payload is removed, replaced with a payload that patches the infected host against the attack virus. The home server should also scan the network's devices for other signs that they're already infected, including emailing me with instructions how to inspect each device for UI signs that it's infected with the attack vir And periodic (daily/weekly/etc) reports of "health status". When it detects a host, like a networked picture frame, that seems to be already infected but can't be autopatched, it can recommend further manual steps if possible, including wiping the host's storage if that will work. Or just recommend unplugging and throwing away a doomed host, perhaps with a mail-in "thorough treatment" by the antivirus vendor experts, if there's a chance to recover data and the device. Or just throw away a hopeless device.

    There's a lot of talk lately about "good worms" which would cruise the Net just like "bad worms", but patch instead of infect. Since "patch vs infect" is in the eye of the human operator, that unsupervised release into the wild can easily go wrong. But this kind of managed release in each LAN, rather than just over the entire WAN (Internet), leaves the "doctor virus" compartmentalized - don't let it route between LAN segments. And more importantly, it leaves the vendor and the home user who started it each responsible, and accountable, for using it right. If it's made extremely simple to operate, with the most minimal user intervention required, this kind of product could really improve security without a lot of hassle. And make antivirus vendors a new ton of money.
    • Sounds nice until a malware author manages to make their real virus look like an "anti-virus virus" and it walks right through the anti-virus defense.
      • For one, malware authors can already do that, regardless of whether the antivirus makers do this.

        For another, that's the cat/mouse game they're already playing. So the antivirus I'm describing has to be able to protect from that attack, too. Again, regardless of whether the antivirus is deployed as I describe, or not.

        The only change I make is that the software the user is already installing now will also cruise their network patching their own hosts without an admin UI or admin user (probably eventually all
        • Think it through a little more carefully: you're proposing that trusted (well, supposed to be trusted anyway) AV software include penetration code. How will vendor A's heuristic scanner know that vendor B's "anti-virus worm/virus" is benign, yet still be effective at detecting a destructive new variant of an existing worm/virus?

          "Penetration + patch" looks identical to "penetration + destroy" at the high level. Both have malicious code in the penetration portion and both require access to disk/network to
          • So what happens when the simple antivirus SW detects the new "good virus" attack? It will just stop the attack, and report that the attack failed (unless it doesn't, because the new attack is successful, in which case it was necessary). No harm done, except some "false alarm" messages. But the other hosts that don't defend from the good virus attack will just get patched like I described.

            This doesn't seem to do any harm, but can do a lot of good. Especially when it sometimes succeeds in attacking hosts whic
            • I like this idea in theory, however I'm not sure the tubes is the right place to use it. It could, in theory, work well in a private subnet where propagation is not increasing bandwidth and you can control the spread. Still, like tfa mentions, you'd have to have a lot of knowledge about what you are patching.

              I just don't see much coming down the line that is going to solve anything: Spam, Spoofing, Virii, Worms, etc. Some things give me hope, like the spread of Linux, but even then, how is it really g
              • I didn't say "the tubes", I said over and again "the user's LAN".

                And I said that the user doesn't need any knowledge of anything. The "good virus" vendor knows what virus wrapper it's inoculating against, and what patches to put in the wrapper.

                And if these devices are patched against the original bad version of a virus, clicking an infected email with it isn't going to do any harm.

                And I pointed out that the devices these are primarily designed to fix, like digital picture frames, are not the kind where you
                • I didn't say "the tubes", I said over and again "the user's LAN". And I said that the user doesn't need any knowledge of anything.

                  I see that now. However, if it's safe for a LAN, why wouldn't it be safe for the tubes? Maybe because it isn't?

                  The "good virus" vendor knows what virus wrapper it's inoculating against, and what patches to put in the wrapper.

                  There's a huge leap from writing a signature for some AV software to catch a virus and writing a "good virus" that patches the bug that the virus is exploiting, if it even is a bug and not some deeper problem. Not to mention, different versions of the same software/hardware requiring a completely different patch.

                  You can't just add 'Doesn't allow ...' and 'Will do ...' verbiage to your spec

                  • The difference between the Internet and a LAN is that a LAN has a supervisor who can start this and get its messages, then intervene in the various ways I mentioned. And if something does go wrong, it's confined to the LAN. You might have also noticed that I never said this was a worm, but just a virus, but you're not getting the basic points I said. There's no point discussing this with you if you're going to discuss something else that I didn't describe.

                    Don't bother telling me some past employers. Not onl
                    • So instead of spreading a patch or a signature file, you're going to release a 'good virus'. Sounds like marketing talk to me. How does your virus spread? By floppy or picture frame? Most LANs are connected to the Internet. The ones that aren't won't buy into your virii in the sky scheme.

                      Take your ball er bad idea a go home for all I care...
    • Sounds resource intensive.
      • What is resource intensive?
        • What is resource intensive?
          Having 'good' viruses propagating, looking to outsmart the 'bad' viruses, in addition to the anti-[virus||spyware||adware||rootkit||$otherMalware] running on the system. It would make more sense to me to scan files as they are [downloaded||copiedFromDisk], and a nightly system scan or five (when nobody is using the GUI).
          • I'm talking about devices which don't run any antivirus systems, like the digital picture frames we're discussing in this story. And even the ones that do already run antivirus, if they get compromised by this system, then they need its augmentation. It's not the only way, exclusive of scanning content, but it is more comprehensive whether it's complementing onboard antivirus or compensating for its absence.

            As for its resource intensity, that's required only from the separate LAN server that operates its up
            • I'm talking about devices which don't run any antivirus systems, like the digital picture frames we're discussing in this story. And even the ones that do already run antivirus, if they get compromised by this system, then they need its augmentation.
              That is actually a good argument. In this case, I agree completely.
    • Doesn't nature dynamically develop cures? Sure, we have learned to manipulate our immune system through deactivated viruses and bacteria, but our bodies produce the antibodies in most cases. As and example, many people get a minor cold via the standard flu shot. They do this because their body is developing an antibody.

      For your idea to work, we would need an OS capable of detecting and eliminating the bad stuff, something that biological systems still have a hard time with. For example, a body's solution to
      • Nature dynamically develops reactions to infection. The reactions that are "healing" are stabilized in a species by natural selection of those individuals that more often survive to reproduce, for which healing can be an advantage. But natural selection requires the ones that aren't as fit to survive to die off. That seems like a waste of computers, even if we accept it in nature.

        For my idea to work, the treated devices don't need anything they don't have now. The point is that the healing viruses attack ex
  • by sw155kn1f3 ( 600118 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:16AM (#22444842)
    It's the first thing I do when installed fresh copy of windows. I do this with TweakUI XP - it's download at MS site. Very handy little tool to make initial tuning.
  • by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:28AM (#22444890)
    Why did I get this image of the picture frame displaying Condom ads?
  • by brusk ( 135896 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @10:31AM (#22445144)

    'specific designs to capture something and not leave traces ... This would be a nuclear bomb of malware.'

    Say what? Whenever I want to sneak in somewhere and get away all quiet-and-subtle-like, my first thoughts are of atomic weaponry. Want to steal sensitive documents? Just detonate a small thermonuclear device and no one will even realize you were there, and you'll leave no traces (unless you count a loud bang, bright light, mushroom cloud, charred corpses, fallout and a spike in cancer rates and radiation levels).

    Ninjas. Men in Black-style mindwiping. Cat burglar. Evil hypnotist. Lots of available analogies. Nuclear bomb ain't one of them.

  • specific designs to capture something and not leave traces ...

    Clearly, this isn't true. It's on slashdot. Everything leaves traces.

  • Nuclear bomb? Last i heard they left a trace.
  • Protecting against these new computer viruses, which so far are aimed at PCs running Windows, is hard - and sometimes impossible.

    Windows XP or Vista? Are the infection rates similar for the two operating systems? I just hate it when a virus or trojan is treated like a uniform infectious agent. There can be big differences in the infection rates even among Windows machines, depending on configuration.

    Autorun is from the devil. Right up there with ActiveX in my book. I think it does point up how dif

  • this reinforces why i don't believe we should be doing business with china. there is so much corruption in the government and workplace
  • I've found the best protection is software that tells you when other software is trying to dial home or send out anything.... on my Mac I use Little Snitch, on PCs I believe the best is Zone Alarm.

    It doesn't rely on virus definitions or anything else. It only requires that you take a minute to think about whether the software which wants to connect is doing so at your request or has gone renegade. Now of course once you find that you've got something trying to get out you need to clean it, which is where an
  • I got a picture frame as a gift, but honestly... how many of us would BUY one?
    These picture frames typically have built in memory or require USB synching... what about 802.11 or bluetooth instead? Batteries?

    Which brings me to my point.... the Nokia N800 is $200 and runs to 400 MHz, and can do all this and more. The Nokia N770 closed out at $125 (if you can still find one) and has the same relevant features.
  • by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:23PM (#22447426) Homepage Journal

    And if you think you're too smart to be fooled, apparently the Anti-Virus software makers have not caught up to the threat quite yet.
    That doesn't bother me in the least, as I haven't run any antivirus software for going on 5 years, now. That includes on my Windows machines (and yes, I run as administrator). I've never been infected with anything, either.

    There's a few simple rules that you can follow to do this yourself:

    1. Hardware router. I personally use pfSense, due to the necessary complexity of my home network, considering that I run my computer service business out of my home. Any consumer router will work, though, as long as it's got UPnP turned off, and the password's been changed.
    2. Never, ever, ever plug an untrusted computer into your trusted network. See my point number 1. Customer machines are plugged into a completely separate subnet that is firewalled off from my trusted network.
    3. Turn off everything like autorun, automatically find network shares, etc.
    4. Secure your wireless. Mine's open, but it's even firewalled from my untrusted network. Use WPA-PSK, with a password that looks like this: awdfvA@#F54q2a3A#% Don't even think about using WEP. I've broken it in less than 30 minutes, and the longest it's ever taken me is 45. If you're wireless devices won't support WPA, replace them, or upgrade the wireless. A Startech PCMCIA card that supports WPA is only about $55 retail, so there's really no excuse.
    5. Don't be a moron, and click on anything someone sends you. Even if you think they're really computer savvy. Even if you know they have functional antivirus software.
    6. Anything that's of even remotely questionable trustworthiness, scan with an online scanner. But don't do it right away. Wait a week or two, then scan it, then run it. This is what I do with things like program cracks that people seem to get hosed with all the time. Download it from P2P, then let it sit for a week or so. Then scan it. If it's fine then, you're probably OK.

    Some people tell me I'm paranoid, and they're probably right. But there are two people in the world that I know of that have never had a virus. Myself, and Bill Gates. And I'm sure Bill Gates probably runs antivirus software to prevent it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 )
      7.Never run any antivirus software so there is nothing to report an infection.
      • Antivirus software isn't magic. It doesn't just figure out by itself whether any software is malicious or not. It's got a blacklist of anything that shouldn't run. Yes, there's heuristics as well, but according to recent reports, heuristics is 20% effective or less.

        Now, how do you think that blacklist is generated? By people. So, if antivirus software doesn't report an infection for a new virus, because it's not in the blacklist, how do you think it ends up in the blacklist? People discover it and put

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH