Tag Archives: Cyber Security

macOS New App Release – Camera Guard Professional

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Product Announcement – ProtectStar Inc. of Miami, Florida has released Camera Guard Professional 2017, the company’s new safety software solution for macOS. Camera Guard Professional ensures that no hacker, spy or malware can observe you or listen in on you. With just one single click, not only the camera, but also the microphone will be completely protected.

The app brings back privacy at the work place and in the children’s room at home with a single click. It is an uncompromising, unprecedented solution, specifically protecting the webcam and microphone of iMacs and MacBooks.

When Camera Guard is installed, a single click is enough in order to secure the camera and microphone. This safety tool from then on reports all applications and processes that try to gain access to the camera and microphone. The user then decides if they wish to allow access to the eyes and ears of the Mac Computer. Or alternatively, not allow access. All accesses and warnings are protocolled in a log file.

The personal settings of the Camera Guard are also protected by a PIN number which is equipped with special hacker protection in order to prevent the software itself from being manipulated.

At the core of Camera Guard is the intelligent Deep Detective. This detective not only recognizes well known malware (for example the Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, which specifically takes over the control of the integrated webcam), it also identifies attacks of previously unknown malware. Just like an alarm system or personal firewall, all attacks from hackers, spies and trojans are detected and blocked using heuristic methods. At the same time the software uses minimal system resources.

After the NSA documents from the archive of the whistleblower Edward Snowden became public, it was clear: Not only data thieves and computer scammers are interested in invading the privacy of the user. Also secret services use every possibility at their disposal to gain access. Taking over the computer webcam or the built in microphone from afar is no longer just science fiction.

Supported Languages: German and English

System Requirements

  • Mac OS 10.11 or higher (OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra)
  • 30 MB free hard drive space
  • Internet connection for updates and activation

Camera Guard Professional 2017 offers protection of the microphone, the Deep Detective, protection against well-known and unknown access attempts, a protocol in a log file, password protection and a 24/7 support via email. The pro-version costs just $29.90 (USD) and is available from the website. There is also a free version of Camera Guard available that offers protection of the webcam and safety information over accesses.

Tech Tip – Private Browsing with StartPage

Product ReviewmacOS Toolkit – I don’t recall where I first saw StartPage, but I installed the extension into Safari a few weeks ago and have been using it on a regular basis.

So, what is StartPage? StartPage is a search engine company based in the Netherlands. The potential benefits of StartPage include:

  • it is outside the reach of US law enforcement agencies
  • it uses secure connections over HTTPS
  • it does not collect search information
  • it provides private click-throughs using a proxy

The basis of the search engine results is Google, so the results of the searches are as good as any when using StartPage. StartPage is provided by Ixquick “the world’s most private search engine. Ixquick has been third-party certified by EuroPriSe, a European Union privacy initiative.” If you visit the StartPage website, you will see the very prominent statement that “StartPage does not collect or share any personal information!“. Many have become concerned with this as some ISPs have begun to ‘harvest’ search history information from their clients.

Beyond the search anonymity, sites listed in the StartPage search results are accessed through a proxy service that “allows users to surf the web with complete privacy. The proxy lets users browse websites safely and anonymously, without passing on any private, personally identifiable information to the websites they view.

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A portion of a search using StartPage is shown above. In the list of search results will be links very similar to those seen in a Google search. If you click on a link there, you leave the protection of StartPage and are browsing just as if you had been using Google. There is a “proxy” button besides each link in the search list. If you click that link then the page is retrieved through a StartPage proxy making your website visit invisible. You will encounter slower page loading when going through the proxy. StartPage provides a full description of how their proxy works here.

I think that this will become a standard part of my macOS Toolbox. While I am using StartPage with Safari, it is compatible with most browsers. There is also a Ixquick Search App that provides anonymous searching on mobile (iOS and Android) devices.  If you are concerned with your web browsing privacy, this may be an option you want to look into.


See my other macOS articles


 

macOS, iOS New App Release – VPN Unlimited

Product announcement – KeepSolid of New York, New York has released VPN Unlimited, featuring a DNS Firewall. This new version blocks malware, ads and tracking web resources. In addition to a top-notch VPN service, now VPN Unlimited has all users might need to browse the web securely, privately and protected.

DNS Firewall is a unique solution that combines three tools – anti-tracking, ad-blocking and anti-malware – in one. By just changing an IP address, you are not totally protected from tracking systems. In the new update, VPN Unlimited solves this issue, stops them from spying on your browsing activities. An ad-blocking function bans nearly all ads both on websites and in apps, which is pretty unique even for ad-blocking apps. It works smoothly on iOS and Android, as well as on desktops. VPN Unlimited will also filter traffic to prevent malware from infecting your devices.

In case users want to block some site that is not listed as a spammy one, they can manually add it to the Black List in the app. As well as add some web resources to the White List so they never get banned. White lists have a higher priority than Black lists.

Thanks to the DNS Firewall, users will have a long sought-after ad-free and safe web browsing experience. In the near future, KeepSolid will add a possibility to set up DNS Firewall on routers and Windows Phones too.

About the service:
VPN Unlimited creates an encrypted tunnel, and all user activity travels through it. This means that all the data they send or receive is hidden from hackers, sniffers, and spies because it is inside that tunnel. A tunnel is established between your device and one of 1200+ reliable servers of VPN Unlimited, located in 70 regions around the globe.

Not only your connection will be protected, your geographic location and IP will be hidden too. This will let you surf the web without any restrictions or limits. Whether inside your country, or on a business trip, or on vacation, you will have access to your favorite web resources even in the regions with strict internet censorship.

VPN Unlimited is a cross-platform service, available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Windows Phone, Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. VPN Unlimited for macOS is free and can be downloaded from the website or from the Mac App Store. The free iOS version can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store.

macOS New App Release – Anti Virus Plus

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Product Announcement – B-Eng of Fehraltorf, Switzerland has released Anti Virus Plus for Mac. Anti Virus Plus is a virus scanner with advanced features, making it an all-round security software. Besides of regular scans Anti Virus Plus allows several advanced scanning methods as follows:

  • Drag and drop scan: drag and drop any file for an immediate scan
  • Auto directory scanner: newly added files are scanned automatically
  • Adware scanner
  • Scanner for compressed viruses and malware
  • Detection of encrypted viruses, malware, adware and trojans
  • Virus and malware definitions are updated every hour
  • Vulnerability scanner detects loopholes and unsecure security settings
  • Port scanner for advanced security

Christian Schaffner, General Manager of B-Eng, also pointed out that a lot of virus scanners on the market don’t do what they promise. “We found one specific scanner that simply checks the version of macOS and based on that it states that the computer is safe, which of course is no proof for the integrity and security at all. Anti Virus Plus runs extended routines to check the integrity of the OS, and it does it fast.” Anti Virus Plus also contains a browser cleaner and has successfully passed the EICAR test.

Anti Virus Lite, a separate product, is available for $4.99 through the Mac App Store. Anti Virus Lite has passed the EICAR test and is able to detect various other threats than viruses. Its features include:

  • An adware scanner is included, helping to keep the browser free of clutter
  • Detection of viruses that are hidden in compressed files
  • Detection of encrypted viruses, malware, adware and trojans
  • A drag and drop scanner is included, to check specific files by dropping them in the scanner

Anti Virus Plus runs on MacOS 10.11 or newer, and is available for $19.99 (USD). It is available on the website and is a one-time-purchase, which means that there are no additional fees.

Today is “World Backup Day”

If you have an electronic device (computer, phone, tablet), chances are that it can be backed up. Today, World Backup Day, serves as a reminder that you should be backing up those devices on a routine basis.

Backing up your data means making a second (and a third copy is recommended) of all of the data on your device. The 3-2-1 strategy is best – always three copies of your data, data stored on two different media, and one copy off-site.

You should backup because loosing data is not as uncommon as you might think. Devices can be lost or stolen. Or they may simply suffer a hardware failure. Increasingly too there is the threat of the data on your device being held for ransom.

Start a habit today of making routine backups. You can even go to the World Backup Day website and take the pledge to back up your data.

Cyber Attack Map

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Cyber Security – The company Norse, which is one of the major cyber security players, offers a “real-time” cyber attack map. I can’t embed the page here, but you can follow that link and see it your self. The image above is a screen shot I took as I was writing this post. It offers various filters that you can choose to narrow your view of the cyber attacks being displayed.

As the article “Cyber Attack Maps…Accurate Or Just Eye Candy?” points out, this (and the other similar maps mentioned in the article) “real-time” map is really more symbolic of what is happening than a true “real-time” depiction of all of the malware activity. That said it is a very good tool to show people the magnitude of the cyberattacks going on around the world.

You may want to add a link to one of these sites to your collection of Web Tools.

macOS New Release -AntiVirus 1.2

Product Announcement – B-Eng of Fehraltorf, Switzerland has released AntiVirus 1.2, an important update to their popular virus and adware scanner developed exclusively for Mac OS X. Welcome to one of the most sophisticated and easy-to-use antivirus tools available. Quick, reliable and safe, AntiVirus delivers everything you could ask for. In addition to may stability improvements, version 1.2 adds a new port scanner, as well as a new vulnerability scanner.

A key feature of AntiVirus is that the app doesn’t force you to update virus definitions manually. The virus and malware list is updated autmatically, and once per hour if necessary. Unlike alternative virus scanners within its genre, AntiVirus doesn’t eat CPU power and fill up RAM. Its sophisticated algorithm kicks in only when needed. AntiVirus checks loopholes that many other virus scanner completely ignore. We are convinced that AntiVirus finds threats where other scanners stay silent or even want to make you beleive that your computer is safe.

Main Features of AntiVirus – Virus & Adware Scanner:

  • Single purchase, no monthly fees
  • EICAR test passed
  • Drag & drop scanner
  • Auto directory watcher
  • Detection of compressed malware and viruses
  • Port Scanner
  • Adware scanner

AntiVirus has successfully passed the EICAR test. Viruses, and especially adware, has penetrated an increasing number of Macs that are in daily use and have to be considered a serious threat to many computers running macOS. Based on their in-house analysis, B-Eng decided to protect their hardware and software and built a virus and adware scanner for their own use. After these initial tests, they decided it is ready to be sold. According to B-Eng there will be no monthly fees, and the virus definitions will be updated several times every day:

Device Requirements:

  • OS X 10.11 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 8.8 MB

AntiVirus – Virus & Adware Scanner 1.2 is is available for $14.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category.

macOS New Release – Combo Cleaner: Antivirus and System Optimizer 1.0.6

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Product Announcement – RCS Software of  Kaunas, Lithuania has released Combo Cleaner: Antivirus and System Optimizer 1.0.6, their comprehensive antivirus and system optimization application for macOS. By using Combo Cleaner, Mac users can keep their systems free from viruses and malware, clean their system of junk and obsolete files, discover large files taking up precious hard drive space, find duplicate files, and more.

Combo Cleaner offers easy-to-use utilities, all of which are accessible from an easy to understand and straightforward interface. With just a few clicks of the mouse, anyone can scan their Mac for harmful viruses, clean the hard drive of junk & duplicate files, and protect their privacy by removing cookies and other tracking data. Each procedure is easy to initiate, and the app keeps users completely informed every step of the way. The app also keeps users informed of the amount of their Mac’s free disk space & memory, as well as the system’s CPU load, all via easy to read gauges.

While Combo Cleaner is a great all-around system optimization program, its Antivirus features is where the app shines. By allowing users to quickly scan their Mac for both Mac and Windows viruses, malware, and adware, the app helps users keep their Mac free of issues that can be carried along with email attachments, file sharing, and other possible way for viruses to weasel their way onto the Mac.

Combo Cleaner’s antivirus features offer any Mac user the ability to quickly scan commonly infected areas of their machine, such as downloaded files, email attachments, and other carriers of viruses and malware. Also available is a Full Scan option that scans every file and folder on a Mac’s hard drive, offering complete peace of mind to users that their Mac is clean of viruses that can seemingly attack from nowhere. A Custom Scan option allows users to specify which files and folders are to be scanned, allowing them to customize their protection.

Combo Cleaner keeps users informed of their protection status. The app clearly shows the date and time of the last virus scan, when the virus signatures were last updated, and the number of virus signatures the app currently checks for. (At last count, the app checks for over 7,673,000 variations of viruses and malware.)

While Combo Cleaner is free to download in the Mac App Store, it also offers a premium subscription option, which enables several additional features. Subscriptions are available via a convenient in-app purchase. Pricing is $2.99 Monthly, $14.99 Half-yearly, and $25.99 Yearly.

The Combo Cleaner free version offers a Disk Cleaner feature, which ensures that your Mac is free of junk and obsolete files that waste gigabytes of disk space.

Combo Cleaner Premium Features Include:

  • Antivirus – Award winning virus, malware, and adware scan engines receive hourly malware definition updates
  • Duplicate File Finder – Combo Cleaner finds and eliminates duplicate files that waste valuable disk space
  • Big Files Finder – Checks your local and external disks, listing all files and folders larger than 100MB
  • Application Uninstaller – Combo Cleaner will find and remove files left behind when uninstalling apps
  • Privacy Scanner – Scans installed browsers, enabling users to easily remove browsing histories, cookies, etc.

System Requirements:

  • Requires OS X 10.10 or later (macOS Sierra compatible)
  • 64-bit processor
  • 2.7 MB

Combo Cleaner: Antivirus and System Optimizer 1.0.6 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Utilities category. Subscriptions to Combo Cleaner’s Premium features are available via a convenient in-app purchase. Pricing is $2.99 Monthly, $14.99 Half-yearly, and $25.99 Yearly.

DON’T Plug in Just Any USB Drive!

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We have been aware of the threat of USB devices with auto-run malware for some time. More recently a worse device has surfaced, a USB Killer. This sounds like some fictional device you would see in a movie, but it is real.

This looks like any other USB drive, but the hardware is such that seconds after inserting it into a USB port, a disabling charge will be delivered. The USB Killer device charges up an internal capacitor from the 5V power supplied by the USB port. Once the charge reaches a high level (more than 200 volts) the capacitor is discharged back into the port. This process is repeated for as long as the device receives power. The power surge is fatal for most systems. The USB Killer device can then be unplugged and used again and again.

Not only have these devices been designed and tested, you can order one on-line from a Hong Kong company for less than $60. The product is advertised to “test USB ports for vulnerability”. Now at $60 each someone isn’t going to be buying and spreading the devices around, but it is cheap enough that someone up to no-good could purchase and then fry several several devices. How often do you see a laptop left unattended for a few minutes in a cafe?

The manufacturer claims “Our tests reveal that more than 95% of all devices using USB ports will be damaged permanently or completely destroyed by a USB power surge attack.” They do go on to say that “To date [August 16, 2016], the only hardware that resisted … tests was the latest model Macbooks ­which optically isolate the data lines on the USB ports.

If the evil doer is more creative, they can build their own device. I found one YouTube video where a $3 USB device was purchased on-line then modified to deliver a killing charge. Explicit “how to” instructions were given on how to weaponize the device.

What makes this scary and dangerous is that a recent study conducted by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan and Google indicated that ‘found’ USB drives are often plugged into a computer. In this particular test 297 devices were spread around the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. The result was that they found “that users pick up and connect an estimated 45%–98% of the drives we dropped.

Keep in mind that these USB Killer devices can affect any system with a USB port – computers, TVs, entertainment systems, autos, etc.

How do you protect yourself? If you find a USB drive do not plug it in!


See my other cyber security articles


 

macOS – Data Shredder for iOS

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Product Announcement  – ProtectStar of Miami, Florida has released Data Shredder for iOS 2017 – formerly iShredder – their data shredding utility that easily erases and wipes data on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Anyone can simply connect their iOS device to their Mac, and quickly and efficiently delete and overwrite all data from the device.

Data Shredder for iOS 2017 uses data shredding techniques that go beyond international standards set by state and military organizations for secure data deletion. Data Shredder’s data erasing algorithms have been analyzed by government authorities and independent security organizations to ensure the app does exactly as advertised, destroy all personal data on the device beyond any hope of recovery.

Data Shredder for iOS 2017 is available in two versions, the Professional Edition offers 10 different data shredding methods, completely wiping all free space and overwriting the storage area, to completely shred all of the stored data. Data Shredder Military Edition offers 17 erasing algorithms in total, while also offering an integrated secure file explorer.

Data Shredder for iOS Professional Edition include:

  • Compatibility with all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models
  • Compatible with all iOS versions
  • Securely erases the free space
  •  Completely wipes all data on the device
  • Includes 1 year of technical support and free upgrades
  • 24/7 support via e-Mail

Data Shredder Military Edition Includes the above features, plus:

  • Offers the ability to wipe data from Apple TV units
  • Additional military level deletion algorithms
  • A 50-cycles wiping method ProtectStar(TM) Secure Deletion Algorithm(R)
  • An integrated secure file explorer

Data Shredder for iOS Professional edition uses certified deletion algorithms, including: DoD 5220.22-M ECE, Peter Gutmann, DoD 5220.22-M, HMG Infosec No.5, US Army AR380-19 and more. The Data Shredder for iOS Military Edition uses those same shredding algorithms, plus makes use of enhanced military deletion methods like NATO standard, US Navy NAVSO P-5239-26 (MFM & RLL), USAF AFSSI-5020 and Canadian CSEC ITSG-06.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.11 or later
  • Internet connection for activation and updates
  • 30MB Hard Drive space

Data Shredder for iOS 2017 Professional Edition is just $29.90 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available through the ProtectStar website. Data Shredder for iOS 2017 Military Edition is just $49.90 USD. A Windows version will be available January 2017.