Good antivirus software, once installed, doesn’t make its presence known until its needed — that is, it’s detected a virus, trojan or other nasty and it requires your attention. Unfortunately, while it’s nice not to be bothered by unnecessary dialogs, it makes it easier to forget it’s running in the background, monitoring file operations. This isn’t usually a problem, unless you happen to be copying a few gigabytes of data.
Advertising on the internet was once limited to annoying popups or excessively-animated banners, but these days even software installers can be packed with mostly unwanted extras. In light of this shift in adware distribution, Microsoft has revised how its anti-malware measures classify such software and has given developers until July 1 to get their houses in order.
All three major browsers — Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox — fell to hackers at this year’s Pwn2Own, held late last week in Vancouver. And it wasn’t just Microsoft, Google and Mozilla who were left on the battlefield, with Adobe’s Flash and Reader products also failing to hold up against attacks.
The idea of a global account for identity verification online sounds great in theory, but execution has proved difficult for obvious reasons. Google’s done a decent job, as has Facebook and Twitter, all offering ID systems that can be used by developers for authorisation. Mozilla’s Persona, however, hasn’t seen as much uptake and as a result, the organisation has left it in the hands of the internet.
If you own an iOS-powered device, you probably woke up to an update from Apple to patch the operating system to version 7.0.6. Its primary purpose is to close a security hole in the API responsible for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) connections — but what exactly was fixed? In programming terms, it’s actually rather silly.
It used to be tracking down malicious programs was a simple matter of firing up Task Manager, looking for any unusual processes and cleaning them out manually. These days, viruses and Trojans are not only more sophisticated, but creative in hiding their presence. CrowdInspect is one tool that can make it easier to identifying nefarious apps, using a variety of scanning APIs.
Convenience isn’t always a good thing. I know I find auto-updating programs and operating systems annoying — I’d rather apply patches on a case-by-case basis and preferably not in the middle of other tasks. Browsers are one type of application that has long supported additional functionality via add-ons or extensions and many have some sort of background updating system that is not always desirable to have active.
Android: Android has plenty of ways to make your lock screen more functional and secure, but once that’s bypassed, there’s no built-in ability to lock individual apps. App Lock (Smart App Protector) is the best app I’ve seen to fill this void.
It’s hard to get a clear picture of what sites your browser is communicating with as you traverse the myriad destinations provided by the internet. Sure, it’s obvious what website you’re looking at, but what other connections are being made in the background? Now Firefox users can see a visualisation of this information using a Mozilla-developed add-on called Lightbeam.