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The Batman Approach Part II: Current Malware Defenses & Their Downfalls

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Security ShieldWe in the digital world have not been left utterly desolate in our crusade in defending against the classlessness of the common virus maker. Countless tools exist that help the common user defend against the innumerable threats viruses present, mainly in the forms of antimalware suites (I only ever recommend Malwarebytes as nothing else I’ve seen works half as well) and firewalls.  These two types of tools are the main defenses of operating systems against viruses and hackers. Another important layer of defense is for operating system developers such as Microsoft, Apple, and the Linux communities to create rock-solid code and preemptively patch holes and bugs before they are discovered and subverted for malevolent purposes. The question, however, is are these defenses working, and are they enough?

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Don’t Pee in People’s Yards– They Might Have Security Cameras

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Dear Fellow Who Peed in Our Yard,

We currently live on a semi-busy street down a little ways from a gas station and an Autozone. People puffing on cigarettes or carrying sacks of beer often make the trek down the sidewalk in front of our house each night to the gas station to get more cigarettes or beer or occasionally a Redbox movie. Sometimes when I take the cans to the curb one of them will ask me for a cigarette as if it were the 50s all over again, and I tell him that I have none. He goes on his way.

You, however, have trumped all cigarette-puffing, beer-toting strangers and creepers. You didn’t seem drunk, but maybe you were on your way to the gas station in order to become such. Just like when you were a little fellow, you did not heed mommy’s warning to go potty before leaving the house. Will you ever learn?  You looked at your environment around you and noticed a behind-the-garage area up a long driveway away from the street. This would be preferable to relieving your waters into the puddle at 7-11 and risk being seen. Even before you rounded the corner behind the garage, you already had your belt unbuckled, just to be ready. Oh, look– there’s snow– let’s make a fun design.

Upon finishing up, you took one last proud look at your work before heading back out to the street. What class. What gallantry. Nobody will know your secret act of darkness. Well, hopefully the snow melts before anyone notices, anyway. Why is it snowing in April in the first place? Whatever. Time to grab an eight-pack and get inebriated. 7-11 is so close.

You have cemented our decision to move to a cul-de-sac. Thank you, Fellow Who Peed in Our Yard. We couldn’t have made this decision without you.

With love,

–Jordan & Lisa

The Batman Approach Part I: Historical & Modern Malware/Antimalware

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

Blaster Virus Hex Dump

One of the modern world’s most dynamic and prolific concerns is that of computer and network security. Nearly since the dawn of computer technology, viruses and security flaws have plagued client and server machines alike as well as the networks that integrate them. No operating system is immune, though some appear to be more secure than others by nature. Often—but not always—users and administrators are partially to blame for security breaches. In all, these ever-present security flaws are combatted often in a reactionary way and always in a defensive manner, costing industries billions of dollars in damages and technical disaster cleanup every year, not to mention the billions in preventative maintenance. It would be worth the research, investment, and development for the IT departments of every industry spending millions of dollars on defensive security warfare to invest some of that time and money to take a new approach to computer security—that is, to offensively and automatically attack the attackers using tools fashioned after the very weapons attackers have used for decades. In other words, we need groups of people who have the knowledge, skills, and means to fight back against malware to fight fire with fire.[Read further…]

Government Seeks Control of Internet, Calls it “Net Neutrality”

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

The internet as we know it is on its way to destructionYou probably haven’t heard much about what people are calling “Net Neutrality”. It’s a catch-phrase that the FCC, Obama, and millions of their mindless minions (see: liberals/progressives) are throwing around lately.  It’s rather too late for us since the regulations have already been passed, but below are the basic details and reasons why we ought to be wary. It’s possible the regulations could be revoked or drastically changed by varying lawsuits and/or congressional action, but it’s doubtful since most of our “elected” officials, be they Democrats or Republicans, are corrupt and scheming liars.[Read further…]

Recovering Files Encrypted by KeyHolder Ransomware

by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on

A merry Christmas, indeed! There’s not much snow here in the northwest, and to top that off, a new ransomware malware variant has surfaced, infecting untold numbers of small business and home computers throughout the country. You’re likely here because you or your client has been attacked by this ruthless plague, and you want nothing for Christmas other than to recover those encrypted files. You have been visited by the Ghosts of Backups Past, Present, and Future, and now you exclaim, like Scrooge of Dickens fame, “I will honour Backups in my heart, and try to keep them all the year. I will make Backups in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” You have learned your lesson to make backups nightly, if not more often, but this hard-won knowledge cannot bring back your corrupted data. Is there any way to get that data back without paying the scum that took it in the first place?

Well, probably.

UPDATE: Probably not, I’m afraid. I’ve confirmed with people who have analyzed the virus in minute detail down to how each byte is encrypted, and they’re 100% certain that the virus does not copy files, encrypt the copies, and then delete them; they rather just encrypt the original. This renders my theory of recovery moot, though if you’re desperate, please feel free to read on and give it a try. It never hurts to try. I would still recommend initiating the purchase of some Bitcoin as it takes four or more days for Bitcoin to process from your bank account, and it’s less likely that you’ll be able to recover your files if you pay the ransom after ten days. If you are able to recover the files before you pay the ransom, you can always transfer the Bitcoin back into your bank account or use it to buy stuff at Newegg.

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Lisa’s Christmas Wish List 2014

by Lisa Kaye Cunningham on

I publish this as an assistance to those who, as tradition dictates, would like to share gifts with loved ones, a tradition in which I also partake. At the same time, I readily acknowledge God and my family for all of the material wealth and possessions which I own, which are plentiful. I am already extremely blessed in my loving family, my close friends, and, above all, my adorable husband. No material possession will make me happier than I already am being married to him. Still, I enjoy and adhere to Christmas tradition. Give it your best shot. Merry Christmas.[Read further…]