Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caching in on Obama

I promise not to get too political on the blog, but I am going to talk about Obama again. Yes, two Obama posts back to back. However, this isn't going to be directly about Obama. It is about how people are trying to cache (pun intended) in on the new president's popularity.

There is a rash of email going around the internet involving Barak Obama. You might have already gotten one of these already. Some of the email being passed around is trying to get you to put malware on your computer. This could be a computer virus or a trojan horse. Either way, you don't want it on your computer!

The folks at Trend Labs have been notcing the emails too and have indeed found malware. The sites are bogus news or blog sites about President Obama. When you go to the site it will usually ask your computer download something. A few of the files it might try to download are obama.exe and baraknews.exe.

The scary thing about this is that your computer might download the file without even asking you. It is an exploit with ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer is the most vulnerable with ActiveX exploits. I generally recommend that people turn off ActiveX controls in the browser. You can have the browser ask you if you want to run ActiveX from a site you are familiar with. A lot of sites require ActiveX so this can come in handy.

You can also avoid this by using a browser like FireFox. Firefox doesn't work well with ActiveX controls so it is a safer browser. It is the browser I use on my home computer.

Here are a few things I go through in the back of my head before opening up emails. Some of these tips might help you.
  1. Do I recognize the name of the person sending me the email?

  2. Is it the correct email address for that person?

  3. Does something seem fishy about the subject line?
Be careful out there. The internet is a great place, but just like any city it can have some places you have to watch out for.

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