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A week in security (March 4 – 11)

Last week, Malwarebytes Labs released its in-depth, international data privacy survey of nearly 4,000 individuals, revealing that every generation, including Millennials, cares about online privacy. We also covered a novel case of zombie email that involved a very much alive account user, delved into the typical data privacy laws a US startup might have to comply with on its journey to success, … [Read more...]

Google Chrome zero-day: Now is the time to update and restart your browser

It’s not often that we hear about a critical vulnerability in Google Chrome, and perhaps it’s even more rare when Google’s own engineers are urging users to patch. There are several good reasons why you need to take this new Chrome zero-day (CVE-2019-5786) seriously. For starters, we are talking about a full exploitation that escapes the sandbox and leads to remote code … [Read more...]

Browser push notifications: a feature asking to be abused

“I’m seeing a lot of ads popping up in the corner of my screen, and the Malwarebytes scan does not show there is anything wrong. It says my computer is clean. So what’s happening?” Our support team runs into questions like this regularly, but the volume seems to be increasing lately. In most of these cases, it helps to look at the “Notification permissions” of the browser displaying this … [Read more...]

Browlock flies under the radar with complete obfuscation

Browlocks are the main driving force behind tech support scams, using a combination of malvertising and clever browser locker tricks to fool users. In fact, the effects can be so convincing that people call the rogue Microsoft support number for help because they believe their computer has been hijacked. Crooks are constantly trying out new tricks to defeat modern browsers and evade detection. … [Read more...]

Can search extensions keep your searches private?

One of the most common things most of us do on the Internet is search, whether we are looking up the price of the latest gadget or we need to find the address of that great restaurant recommended by a friend. The dizzying number of Google search queries per second (more than 40,000, on average) tells us there is plenty of money to be made by advertising in search results. It’s not just big … [Read more...]

Introducing: Malwarebytes Browser Extension

Are you tired of all the unwanted content the world wide web offers up, whether you like it or not? It is our privilege to introduce you to the Malwarebytes Browser Extension (BETA). Or, better said, the Malwarebytes Browser Extensions, because we have one for Firefox and one for Chrome. Introduction Malwarebytes Browser Extension delivers a safer and faster web browsing experience. It blocks … [Read more...]

‘FakeUpdates’ campaign leverages multiple website platforms

A malware campaign which seems to have started at least since December 2017 has been gaining steam by enrolling a growing number of legitimate but compromised websites. Its modus operandi relies on social engineering users with fake but convincing update notifications. Similar techniques were used by a group leveraging malvertising on high traffic websites such as Yahoo to distribute ad fraud … [Read more...]

Tech support scammers find new way to jam Google Chrome

During the past quarter we have noted an increase in fake browser alerts pushing tech support scams. Most of these campaigns come from malicious advertising but also via compromised web sites. Crooks are using all sorts of tricks to not only scare users but also to try and ‘lock’ their browsers. One such technique involving the history.pushState API which we reported about on this blog … [Read more...]

New Chrome and Firefox extensions block their removal to hijack browsers

What you don’t see won’t hurt you, must have been the reasoning of the threat actors who created the latest batch of extensions that make these browser hijackers even more difficult to remove. The extensions redirect users away from pages where they can disable or delete them in order to drive clicks up on YouTube videos or hijack searchers. The extensions, which have been found in … [Read more...]

Mobile Menace Monday: Chrome declares war on unwanted redirects

As it was introduced earlier this year, Google is initiating their plan to implement a few new changes in Chrome to defend against unwanted web redirects. A redirect happens when a different website from the URL that was entered opens in the browser. Sometimes redirects are intentional, as in when an organization/website is bought out by another entity and their traffic is redirected to the new … [Read more...]