Tag Archives: keylogger

Should You Spy on Your Child?

Last night, I wrote a post discussing a proposed bill in California. This legalese, in short, wants to force social sites to remove information and content of minors at the request of parents. There are several loopholes in this proposed legislation. I worked hard to come up with as many of them as possible in order to spur further discussion. One person who commented, though, knocked me for a loop. My thoughts immediately spiraled off into the stratosphere, imagining all of the possible issues which could arise from her method of knowing what’s going on in her daughter’s life. Plain and simple, this new mom plans to spy on her child in the future by using a keylogger.

Those of you who believe that spying on your kids is okay are screaming at me already. I can hear you, so why not simmer down a moment and give me a chance to explain myself? I am well aware that I am not a parent myself. Keeping track of what Wicket is doing online is vastly different from keeping a child safe, I know. However, I HAVE been a teenager. I can tell you with a large amount of authority that if my parents had spied on me in this manner, there would have been hell to pay.

Installing a keylogger without your child’s knowledge is just as wrong as having your spouse or significant other installing one on your machine. Where is the trust? Why have we reduced ourselves to this level of deceit? Trust runs both ways, moms and dads. Your kids need to be able to trust you, as well. If you don’t have faith in them to know they will make smart choices online, then perhaps you need to ratchet up the things you’re teaching them just a bit. Talk to them. Explain the very real dangers which lurk out there on the Internet and how to avoid them. Lay out your expectations very clearly – and your rules. And then… let go. You have to give them room to be themselves, to make mistakes and to prove they are the awesome human beings you raised them to be.

When your teen catches you spying on him or her (trust me, they WILL catch you, because they likely know far more than you do about computers), the crap is going to hit the fan. Many teens will simply circumvent the keylogger. They will find ways to get around ANY and all controls you attempt to place on them. I know – this sounds like they are disobeying and need to be punished. Think of it this way, though… they are using their brainpower to do something that is important to them. I’m not saying the little darlings should never get into trouble for breaking a rule. I’m just saying you need to give them a little space, and trust YOURSELF a little more.

Yes, trust yourself. You are the one who has raised them. You’re the one who has taught them boundaries, how to decide between right and wrong and how to make intelligent decisions. You have to have faith that you’ve done your job well and give them a bit of room to grow. It’s perfectly fine to demand they friend you on social sites so you can still quietly see what’s going on. It’s great if you want to ask them about who they hang out with online and what sites they choose to frequent.

It’s not cool to outright spy on them. Period.

Rental Computers from Aaron’s are Spying on You

Renting furniture, home appliances and electronics is pretty easy these days, thanks to chain store Aaron’s Inc. With the economy forever tanking, people may not be able to afford to go out and buy something outright. Let’s say your stove bites the dust… heading to Aaron’s and making small(ish) monthly payments is preferable to shelling out several hundred bucks all at once for a lot of you. The same holds true with a computer or laptop. The company carries those, as well, but they aren’t exactly being honest with you when you rent one. It turns out that they are – quite literally – spying on you.

A couple in Wyoming signed an agreement with Aaron’s in early 2010 for the purchase of an Inspiron laptop. They paid the machine off in full a month prior to the end date, in October of that year. Two months later, the store manager showed up at their door and attempted to repossess the laptop, claiming it was never paid off. (Side note: Isn’t it funny that the company never contacted them between the payoff period and when the manager showed up?) While arguing over whether the company had the “right” to the Inspiron, the manager pulled out a photograph of Mr. Byrd using the computer… taken with the built-in webcam.

It turns out that Aaron’s routinely installs several layers of tracking software on every computer they lease. This is made by PC Rental Agent. Supposedly, the Agent is designed to keep track of machines so that no one can run off with them, and to lock customers out if they refuse to pay. However, no consumer is ever told of the presence of this evil little piece of software.

According to the lawsuit filed by the Byrds, law enforcement officials determined that there are tracking components soldered onto the motherboard itself. The laptop also has software installed on the hard drive which allows the chain store complete access via keylogging, screenshots and webcam access. Every single keystroke a customer makes is recorded… Every. Single. Keystroke. They’re also snapping photos of your family and guests to your home doing any number of things!

Hello?! This is likely the worst type of privacy invasion I have ever heard of. The potential for abuse of this software is mind-boggling. Any store employee who can use their end of this monitoring software can now access any sensitive and personal data on thousands of machines running around the United States and Canada. The couple and their lawyer are working to turn this into a class-action suit so that other people can come forward. In this case, I am all in favor of a huge lawsuit being slapped on a company by a heck of a lot of former customers.

What are your thoughts?

Is Samsung Installing Keyloggers on New Laptops?

UPDATE! – Earlier today, Samsung reported that this fiasco was nothing more than a case of mis-identification on the part of VIPRE. Apparently, VIPRE can be fooled by Microsoft’s Live Application multi-language supporter. This doesn’t explain why a supervisor with Samsung originally stated that a keylogger was intentionally placed on the machines in order to monitor what customers are doing with the machines. We will continue to monitor this situation and update again if any new information becomes available.

Here we go again, folks. Mohamed Hassan recently purchased a new Samsung R525 laptop. Like any geek worth his (or her) salt, he ran a full system scan with his favorite antivirus product prior to using it for the first time. Much to his surprise, he found a commercial-grade keylogger within seconds. The name of this nasty little program is StarLogger – and Samsung has admitted it was placed there on purpose.

StarLogger is not a nice piece of software. It records every keystroke on a machine – including on password-protected ones. The program automatically begins to run when the computer is booted. It will then randomly email results and includes screenshots. Samsung claims that this was only done in order to “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used.”

Yup, you read that correctly. Samsung wants to know everything you’re doing on your personal laptop. Isn’t that nice of them?! Not only is this creepy on a level I have no words to describe, it’s also likely illegal. Back when we dealt with the whole Sony CD rootkit, then FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras stated that the “installations of secret software which create security risks are intrusive and unlawful.” It’s assumed that the company will fight the legalities and come up with some half-baked excuse as to why they should be allowed to do this.

Think of it this way, though: if a nefarious person managed to hack into the databases at Samsung… imagine the potential catastrophe there. I don’t care how secure a company thinks it is, it can still happen. We’ve seen it time and time again. Every word you type into your machine – including passwords, banking information and much MUCH more – will fall into the hands of criminals.

At least Samsung is owning up to what they’ve done, and is already at work to correct it:

Samsung has launched an investigation into the matter and is working with Mich Kabay and Mohamed Hassan in the investigation. Samsung engineers are collaborating with the computer security expert, Mohamed Hassan, MSIA, CISSP, CISA, with faculty at the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, and with the antivirus vendor whose product identified a possible keylogger (or which may have issued a false positive). The company and the University will post news as fast as possible on Network World. A Samsung executive is personally delivering a randomly selected laptop purchased at a retail store to the Norwich scientists. Prof. Kabay praises Samsung for its immediate, positive and collaborative response to this situation.

I’m sorry, but that’s simply not enough. What is there to investigate? If the software was placed there intentionally then I’m not sure why time and money needs to be wasted determining what it’s doing there. The company needs to own up to this colossal breach of trust and security and take quick steps to correct it.

What are your thoughts?

Popular Site Becomes Alleged Source of Malware

The bad news is that there are reports that another popular site was hit with malware. Allegedly, some visitors to the popular Drudge Report came away with a malware infection. You see the word “allegedly” used here because there is some dispute about the actual source of the infection:

“Matt Drudge denied that his site was infecting visitors, however it’s likely that the malware is coming from ads delivered by a third-party ad network and not the site itself.”

For the site visitor, it is really not important whether the source of the infection is the site itself or the advertising. The salient point is that people are being infected by malware. And that can lead to a variety of problems – from identity theft to an unauthorized use of the computer for spam to a whole load of time wasted.

It is not safe even by just going to the popular sites that have plenty of traffic. The cyber-criminals/hackers want to exploit that traffic and those popular sites become targets. This has been demonstrated over and over again.

If you are on the Internet, you have to take security precautions. There is no other alternative, except to stay offline.

The good news is that there are security programs that are effective in providing protection from this online trash. We are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware for your computer security.

SUPERAntiSpyware has “Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.”

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. SUPERAntispyware is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) saving, until March 17, 2010.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. It has over 20 million users worldwide. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. Recommend this to your friends and family. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for our readers and their friends to protect themselves and your computers. When you have this program, use it – update the security protection offered and use it!

Protect Your Privacy Online

There should be an image here!Your computer most likely holds the necessary data sufficient for successful identity theft. All that is needed for identity theft to occur is to tie a social security number to a name. If you access sites like PayPal or your bank account, those personal data become readily available. Having your identity compromised is simply a personal nightmare that can take years to resolve.

The data on identity theft show that, many times, the crime is perpetrated by someone that the victim knows. That means that it is critical to protect your computer files from people that you know. It might be a roommate, a repair person, a classmate, a co-worker… someone who may and can have casual access to your desktop, laptop, and/or netbook.

In addition to that personal data, you might want to keep photos, passwords, music, videos, and other such files away from other prying eyes. These files represent your privacy.

We recommend Invisible Secrets for a number of security and privacy reasons:

“… Invisible Secrets 4 not only encrypts your data and files for safe keeping or for secure transfer across the net, it also hides them in places that on the surface appear totally innocent, such as picture or sound files, or Web pages. These types of files are a perfect disguise for sensitive information. Using our file encryption software nobody, not even your wife, boss, or a hacker would realize that your important papers or letters are stored in your last holiday pictures, or that you use your personal Web page to exchange messages or secret documents. With Invisible Secrets 4 file encryption software, you may encrypt and hide files directly from Windows Explorer, and then automatically transfer them by email or via the Internet.”

We have Invisible Secrets available to our readers at a 40% discount from this link.

Invisible Secrets works on Windows NT / 2000 / XP / Vista and Windows 7. This generous offer ends March 10, 2010.

Cisco Systems uses this program. The Drug Enforcement Administration (USA) uses this program. The Exchange Bank uses this program. McCain Foods Limited uses this program. The program is Invisible Secrets and the client list grows. Privacy and security are important to these companies and institutions — it is essential to computer protection. This is a preventative measure that individual computer users have to recognize because there is so much information on just one hard drive.

This program should be standard on every machine. With business laptops, government laptops, and personal laptops going missing every day, this security program should be on every portable machine, as well as desktop. This would provide an enormous saving for sensitive information that is breached and the subsequent nightmare of paying for identity theft protection. It’s simple and it’s effective.

Let’s look at just one feature of this program. There are situations where you might be concerned that about keylogging programs stealing your keyboard entries. For example, you might be using an unfamiliar Wi-Fi connection. Invisible Secrets provides a virtual keyboard that prevents criminal access to what you type. This safeguards your passwords and access to sites like PayPal. This is only one of the many benefits of this program.

And this is something that travelers might consider: what if airport security confiscated your laptop? It is absolutely frightening, but it can happen.

If you are in need of multiples of this program, please let us know. We will try to negotiate a good price for those companies that might need many copies for laptops holding those confidential files. For the individual user, think of the files, emails, pictures, passwords, and other bits of information that you don’t want people to access. That is exactly why we want this privacy/security program for our readers… and our thanks to the Invisible Secrets people for this kind offer.

Malware Delivered by Any Means

It is really despicable. There is no low to which hackers and criminals won’t stoop to deliver malware to you. As many of you know, recently there was a tragedy at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, died in a crash during a training run. Criminals have used that incident to deliver malware through bogus tribute sites, news sites, videos and so forth.

These people have no scruples.

During the Olympics, you may want to keep up with your favorite Olympic sport. That works to the hackers’ advantage. You may want to follow a news item of some recent political story. That works to the hackers’ advantage. Whatever generates traffic, these criminals will take advantage of the opportunity.

We want our readers to protect themselves. This malware junk is intended to ambush people online. It does not matter where you go now online. Simply being online is a danger, and security precautions should be taken. And every machine that you use should be protected.

Every machine that you use to go online, no matter how briefly, has to be protected. Even if you have a machine that you do not put online, it should be protected. You may sync your other computers to this machine that you keep offline and some malware may slip onto your system. Because we strongly recommend protecting all your machines, we are recommending the award winning security offered by Spyware Doctor.

“Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus is a top-rated malware, spyware & virus removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, viruses, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats.” It has won numerous awards and Spyware Doctor is good for “Microsoft Windows 7 (32bit, 64bit), Windows Vista SP1+ (32bit, 64bit), Windows XP SP2+ (32bit).”

This is one of the premier, well recognized security programs. And PC Tools is allowing three computers to be protected under one license. That means that, for under seventeen dollars each, three computers can be protected from viruses, spyware, malware and other security threats:

This is a bargain to protect every online computer in the house. This means every desktop, laptop, and netbook – everything. This is a bargain to do so. And when you use Spyware Doctor, update the security definitions regularly. It is doubtful that malware will decrease any time soon. Security measures are absolutely necessary – unfortunately.

Layers of Computer Protection

Computer security people advocate layers of protection. There is no single software program that gives absolute protection. The Internet criminals and hackers simply respond too quickly, and are too sophisticated to be stopped by any one method.

One of the layers of protection that people seem to neglect is encryption. There seems to be a common misconception that encryption is something that is complicated and geeky. It really is not. It can be easy, and it offers an additional layer of security.

The crime of Identity Theft is growing. Two essential pieces of information necessary is to match your name to your social security number. It can lead to a host of problems financially. And if the Identity Theft is used for medical services, it can lead to deadly consequences. This is just a reality of the Internet – and a danger – as more and more medical services move to electronic record keeping for health providers. The key is simply preparation.

For your safety and security, SafeBit offers easy encryption:

SafeBit Disk Encryption is the perfect electronic vault you need for your privacy. It features military strength on-the-fly encryption, by creating virtual disk drives, where you can hide files and folders, keep them encrypted all them time, but still work with these files just like you work with normal files. SafeBit is the last line of defense if your current security system fails against viruses, trojans or hacker attacks.

This is a very special offer for our readers. The SafeBit people are offering our readers a generous forty percent (40%) discount off their regular price. This is a remarkable saving on an award winning software program.

This offer expires on January 6, 2010.

Here is just one last reminder for the people on laptops. If you are using different wi-fi connections regularly or plugging in to unfamiliar Internet connections, there is the risk of keyloggers. For example, the keylogger would record your name and password when you enter a site like PayPal. That would be comparable to handing over the log-in data to your online account. SafeBit has a virtual keyboard. It will give protection against such keylogger programs, and password-stealing malware. This is terrific for travelers, or for those people who are on the go with their laptops and netbooks. The virtual keyboard feature alone is worth the generous price of this program.

Thanks to the SafeBit people for offering this program to our readers at this price point.

Malware on the Rise

There are times when malware seems to be everywhere. Even a large, security conscious company like Google can be exploited. This week, Elinor Mills reported that Google Doodle had been compromised:

Online scammers are taking advantage of the public’s interest in the Google Doodle to spread malware, a security firm warned on Tuesday.

In so-called “SEO poisoning,” scammers use search engine optimization techniques to increase the distribution of malware. They create special malware-rigged Web sites or hide malware on legitimate Web sites they’ve compromised and then use tags associated with popular search terms to get them listed high up in search engine results.

And with the holidays nearly upon us, malware will be in our email. For example, hackers will load malware onto email that looks like a holiday greeting card. Once the person opens that email – expecting it to be from a friend or family member – the computer can be compromised. Consider this a warning to not open any email greeting cards this year.

This holiday season is an opportune time for hackers. They too have expenses and they know that people online are rushing. Hackers are counting on any lapse of attention to have malware installed on more and more machines. That is why we recommend security programs such as Webroot Internet Security Essentials (WISE):

… With unmatched antivirus, antispyware and firewall security, WISE provides blockbuster protection for your PC. In fact, the technologies in WISE have won a combined 11 PC Magazine Editors’ Choice awards! These technologies provide more complete protection than competing products to proactively block: viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, data theft, rootkits, hackers, intrusions, keyloggers…

Webroot is allowing up to three computers to be protected and with a ten dollar discount. This works out to an amount under seventeen dollars per computer. It is a huge bargain.

Protect yourself with an award winning program. We want you to be safe online. This would be an exceptional gift to any friend or family member who does not pay much attention to internet security. This is an easy to use program that you can give for year round computer security. And remember, this offer will protect up to three machines.

Are Hackers Suffering in This Economy?

One of the absurdities that is circulating the Internet is that even hackers are suffering in this economy. With the tough economic situation, supposedly hackers are having more competition. This is just one of the theories to explain why there is a steady increase in malware and criminal activity such as phishing and identity theft.

Whether it is a natural disaster or the death of a celebrity, hackers / criminals are almost always first responders, ready to exploit the situation at hand for personal gain. For example, you may find email that supposedly gives you the latest news about a tragic situation that just occurred. The news story itself may have happened but that email is dangerous. It could carry malware.

The email is just one venue. Are you on Facebook? Have you joined Twitter? These are just some of the examples of social media where people are sharing and clicking on links. If you are on Twitter and have a good number of followers, there are links posted every minute. It would be so easy for a hacker to play the social network and drop some malicious link there. And it will happen more and more often.

There’s even a spam campaign on YouTube. Reports say that this spam does not contain malware. However, it may be a matter of time before slick malware infections find its way onto this popular video site.

This should be frightening to you. These criminals want to exploit you and your computer. You may think you are careful enough. However, no one can be vigilant 100% of the time. There are drive-by downloads that can install things on your machine without your even having to click a link. This is the type of incidence that calls for an excellent security regime on your computer.

You should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times. It is foolish to be online without security protection. For an anti-spyware program, we are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware. We have an excellent deal for you that offers real time protection:

SUPERAntiSpyware has Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. It is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) savings for our readers until October 15, 2009.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. We use it. We need it and so do you. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits, and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. If you have any problems with SUPERAntiSpyware , let us know. We will tell the founder / director of the company and have any problems addressed. Nick Skrepetos is well known in the security community and he stands behind his products. And if you need this program in large numbers, let us know. We will see if we can help with pricing for your company.

You may be wondering why we are recommending security programs when there are programs that are available for free. There is an old adage: ‘you get what you pay for.’ SUPERAntiSpyware has been doing Internet security for years. It is excellent. It works. It protects our machine and has for years. That’s why we recommend it.

Protect All of Your Computers at Once

Most people now have more than one computer. Some may have a main desktop machine and a laptop for out-of-the-house work. It is baffling why each and every computer that a person owns does not have the same level of protection against malware and spyware. The analogy that comes to mind is that the front door of the house has the best dead-bolt lock on the market while the back door is secured by a hook and eye mechanism.

Protect all your computers! That cannot be stressed enough. In an office setup, all that is needed to compromise security is for one machine to be infected. The details of how that is done is not relevant here but it is not difficult.

Spyware Doctor is a highly rated and award winning program. The offer that is available is that one purchase allows the person to protect three (3) machines. That is more than sufficient for most people. Spyware Doctor has a long track record over many years:

“Spyware Doctor is a top-rated malware & spyware removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats.”

The awards and recognition goes back for many years. Privacy Guardian is available to clean and prevent tracking of computer activities. This is an excellent program, at an excellent price. However, your first concern should be security.

Malware attacks are not going away. Just today there were reports of web sites being infected with JSRedir-R. That is just one example. Tomorrow, it might be other junk. Unfortunately, this is just the reality of the Internet. Protect yourself.