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Be aware of AutoCAD malware

AutoCADAutoCAD is a high end CAD (Computer-Aided Design) vector based drawing application intended for engineer purposes.

The malware coders have created something which at first look appears to be part of the program. There are substantial amount of users operating with non-current versions, and more than likely, vulnerable versions of AutoCAD. Security researchers have discovered AutoCAD malware that opens up compromised machines to secondary exploits.

 

 

ACM_SHENZ.A

ACM/SHENZ-A is a legitimate component of AutoCAD software for computer-aided design (CAD). Security researchers Trend Micro have revealed that malicious file opens up systems to exploits, especially those targeting old vulnerabilities. Once this malicious file is ingrained, ACM_SHENZ.A get hold of all the administrative rights which make it easy to access and create network share for all drives. It also additional malware to be plated such as the FAS carrier of this deadly malware. It’s deadly in a sense that the users will not consider a file with .FA extension unusual and just ignore it.

According to Trend Micro, “It appears to be a legitimate AutoCAD component with a .FAS extension, but on analysis it actually opens up systems to exploits, specifically those targeting old vulnerabilities.”

Trend Micro engineers mirrored ESET experts’ sentiment that “being rare” is an advantage afforded AutoCAD malware: “Historically, AutoCAD malware is very rare, although not completely unheard of.”

Besides, the malware also opens the ports 137, 138, 139, and 445. This ultimately allows access to files, printers and serial ports.

“By opening the ports, exploits that target SMB can successfully run on affected systems, provided that the relevant vulnerabilities have not yet been patched,” explains Anthony Joe Melgarejo, a threat response engineer at Trend Micro, in a blog post about the attack. “Security bulletins that cover the SMB vulnerabilities include MS10-020 and MS11-043.”

“The decision to create an account with administrator privilege is a strategic one.  Without the said account, the attacker will have to crack passwords for existing accounts or remotely create one — processes that can be difficult and time-consuming. With the admin account, the attacker can easily steal all the files in those drives and plant other information-stealing malware.”

 

ACAD/Medre.A

 

Security researchers revealed this another AutoCAD malware ACAD/Medre.A as a worm which was programmed to send AutoCAD drawings via email to an account in China.

The experts at ESET said, “ACAD/Medre.A is a serious example of suspected industrial espionage. Every new design created by a victim is sent automatically to the authors of this malware. Needless to say this can cost the legitimate owner of the intellectual property a lot of money as the cyber criminals could have designs before they even go into production by the original designer.”

 

Conclusion

Though AutoCAD malware is scarce, the big companies who spend lots of time and money in design should be very aware of this malware so that their designs are not stolen and patented by others. Moreover, engineering departments need to be aware since CAD drawings are now a valid attack vector. And of course, you should not ignore the .FAS extension.

 

 


MAC Versus PC, which do you support?

MACVersusPCThere has been always a war between Mac and Windows PC devotees and the MAC Versus PC debate will never end. PC which stands for Personal Computers generally refers to those computers which run on the Windows Operating system whereas on the other hand, Macintosh which is commonly known as Mac is a brand name that covers several lines of computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Company. In this blog, we are comparing between Mac and Windows PC to help you get a clear vision to both of these brands.

 

Hardware and cost

MAC: The cost of Apple’s hardware is much higher compared to windows, there is justification for this expensive price. The top-tier support, higher quality hardware and its attractively designed features justify the heftier price. But MACs have certain hardware limitations such as no HDMI ports in laptops, no removable batteries and no Blu-ray drives. The starting price for Mac laptops are £850 and for desktop is £500.
PC: With Windows PC, you are provided with plenty of options in specifications, design and prices. You can find vast array of ports and accessories in the market. There are multiple options on your Windows hardware ranging from topnotch to poor. The starting price for Windows laptops are £250 and for desktop is £200.
If you are in need of desktop or laptop to perform basic functions such as web surfing (browsing) or word processing, then it would be more cost effective to go for Windows rather than a Mac.

Software/Apps

MAC: When compared to PCs, MAC hasn’t captured larger share of computer market because it lacks software written for its operating system. Though it provides a better product, the shortage of specialized business software remains to be the main points of concern. The apps availability is not very flexible and huge as compared to PCs. Though for this point MAC users might make quality over quantity argument, but it’s a matter of personal opinion.
PC: There is no doubt that there are plenty (tons) of apps and software available for Windows PC. Diehard gamers are more gravitated towards PCs due to the wide selection of recreational software offered by Windows OS. Beside that it offers more options whenever it comes to bigger apps like music players, IM clients and many more.

 

Flexibility

MAC: MAC compared to PCs are not that flexible. You cannot upgrade whatever you like from a hardware point of view in MAC. From software point of view, you’ll find MAC drops compatibility with old applications far faster.
PC: Most Windows PC lets you upgrade to whatever you like because windows users have the benefit of everything being made specifically for them. It’s more flexible in regards that you can run everything from the latest games to the ancient DOS Payroll software. Pre-built PC with Windows can be bought from different vendors and you can even build your own from scratch as there are numbers of different parts available in the market.

 

Viruses and Maintenance

MAC: It’s not true that MACs are free of viruses; however, far fewer viruses exist for it. Most MAC users are safe even without the use of any antivirus.

PC: Windows suffer various viruses. An antivirus is must and you should always stay on top of driver updates and security patches. Windows PCs are easily cut down with bloatware, clutter and memory munchers.
Hope this MAC Versus PC article added some value on your decision making point between MAC and PC. They have their own Pros and cons. Depending upon your need and specification, make a smart decision and enjoy the OS of your choice.

 

 

 


Windows XP to be retired in April

Windows-XP-retired-April

Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback was introduced in the year 2002 by Microsoft to ensure more transparency and predictability in Microsoft products support. It was declared with this policy that Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products should receive a minimum of 10 years support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level.

In accordance with the policy, it is therefore time for Windows XP to get retired. It will go out of support from date April 8, 2014. After this date, none of the support will work i.e no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

 

It is thus a crucial time for your business if the migration to a modern desktop has not been started yet. As per the Historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment may take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. In order to make sure that you remain on supported versions of Windows, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately such that you are able to deploy before end of support.

Not upgrading and running Windows XP even after their end of support date may even expose your business to potential risks like Security and Compliance Risks, Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Hardware Manufacturers support.

 

After release of Windows XP in 2001, no one could have ever thought that it would still be in use in 2013. And, to more surprise, it is not just in use at the present, it is extremely popular. A research shows that nearly 40% of the world’s estimated one billion computers run Windows XP. That is a significant number of people dependent on an operating system which is over a decade old. Windows XP is still the second choice to Windows 7 which stands as the most-popular operating system around.

 

The popularity of Windows XP remains as it was stable, fast, powerful, and relatively simple to use. People love it as they are accustomed to using it as well. But, the fact is that every life cycle must end and so is the support for XP. End of life is the end of Microsoft support for everything which means the end in updates for customer service, new features or security updates; an effectively ending mainstream support. Even though it has occurred that XP’s end-of-life date has been extended several times, this is actually the end.

 

An upgrade to Windows i.e Windows 7 and 8, which are already a popular leading OS today would be a good idea. Though it can be a reasonably small leap for most users, adapting this change would result in success only if the change is implemented in time. After Windows 7, Windows 8 has taken all the good credits for its complete overhaul interface to system interface even if for some users it’s a massive learning curve.

As the end is near, using XP will be at your own risk. You can only expect limited protection and these will be unable to protect you. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you start upgrading your Operating System to Windows 7 or 8 as XP is getting retired on April 8, 2014.

 


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