Categories
Entrepreneurship

Location, location, location!

Sounds like something a real estate agent would shout at you while selling you a house, right? Well, sort of.

Just like a grocer may perform a location survey to determine the best place for their store, i.e. the corner versus in a back alley, as an entrepreneur starting a business it is absolutely critical to choose your location. And I don’t mean your office location, I mean your niche. I hate calling it a niche, because it implies something small. Uber certainly didn’t find anything small when it chose to redefine how calling a taxi works!

We faced this hurdle at Malwarebytes early on. When we built the product almost eight years ago, antivirus companies had already saturated the market. There was no room for another antivirus, not that we wanted to be one anyway. From the very beginning, we decided to position ourselves as another layer of protection, one that focuses on the most aggressive and unknown threats and we left the rest to antivirus. It was one of the best decisions we had ever made.

At the time, we had no idea the position (location!) was so important. The revelation came to me recently while reading The Granularity of Growth where the author’s research found that “a company’s choice of where to compete is almost four times more important than outperforming within its market.” Had we positioned ourselves as another antivirus, who knows what Malwarebytes would be today.

Categories
Security

TIL what a warrant canary is

A warrant canary is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that a service provider has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received. Once a service provider does receive legal process, the speech prohibition goes into place, and the canary statement is removed. Source

In a nutshell, a “service provider” hoists a flag periodically that affirms they have not been subpoenaed for user information by a government agency. Often times these national security letters come with a gag order to not discuss the request. By not updating the warrant canary, or the canary disappearing, a provider can passively inform their users that an agency may have requested information and they’re now under a gag order. It’s a cute, and believed-to-be-legal way to inform users that their information may no longer be safe with the provider.

Canary Watch has even gone further and keeps an eye on any warrant canaries that are out there! Service providers watched on the site include reddit, tumblr, Adobe, and Cloudflare, among many others.

Categories
General

Malwarebytes makes appearance on The Office

I like to have background noise as I answer work e-mails. Typically, I leave Netflix streaming and every so often I glance at the television. While watching The Office, I noticed something very interesting.

Malwarebytes on The Office

If you look at the bottom right corner of the screen, on the monitor, you’ll see Malwarebytes Anti-Malware installed on the computer of a customer that Michael, Dwight, and Jim go to see. Turns out this isn’t the first time we’ve “appeared” on the show. We’ve also shown up on Darryl Philbin’s computer — look at the top left of the screen.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is so good, even Dunder Mifflin uses it!

Post other sightings of Malwarebytes in odd places and I’ll talk with the team and do a giveaway to the best one!

Categories
General

Malwarebytes launches enterprise edition

Forgive my absence, I’ve been chained to a headset on several press calls per day for the last few weeks. Now that the press tour is basically over, I’m able to happily announce the launch of an exciting new product, Malwarebytes Enterprise Edition. This thing is awesome. Seriously.

So much work has gone into this product and I’m excited to finally announce it.

I’m working on some really cool changes to the blog and content that I will hopefully post every week, so stay tuned!

Categories
Security

Why social media is a threat to your business

Social media is a great thing. Services such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube help connect friends, families, and even strangers around the world. But it’s well known that they pose an important threat to business owners.

Let’s start with the basics. It’s true that access to these services can keep an employee stimulated and give them a break from the stresses of their work. However, it’s not uncommon for people to spend endless hours scouring Facebook. Moderation is key. Put policies in place, monitor time spent on these types of sites, and help keep productivity high.

Now come the scary parts.

Categories
General

FCC to help protect your mobile privacy

On my way to Prague last month, I decided to pick up May’s print volume of PC Today. Coincidentally, the entire volume was focused on security.

The first article that caught my attention was about the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to help the victims of phone theft. The article goes on to say, “… when a given phone is reported stolen, wireless carriers can remotely shut down that phone.” What does this mean for you, the consumer?

First of all, the FCC is attempting to protect victims of data and identity theft. However, more than likely your data will be long retrieved by the time you notice your phone is stolen and call the wireless provider.

Secondly, the article cites the FCC’s statistic that 40% of New York City robberies are that of mobile phones. However, I doubt that the majority of those were for the purpose of data theft but rather for the theft of the hardware itself.

If you’re concerned about the data and identity theft aspect of losing your phone, you can take several steps to mitigate that risk:

  1. Don’t store sensitive data on your phone. This is pretty common sense. You wouldn’t want your credit card information easily accessible, but who stores that on their phone anyway? What’s more common is saving e-mail passwords and allowing the thief to gain easy access to your personal, or even more sensitive corporate e-mails.
  2. Another layer of passwords, such as locking access to your phone with a 4 digit number, is another excellent way to deter thieves.
  3. Use the software that comes with your phone. Instead of relying on the wireless carrier to deactivate the phone, or even to support the feature, use software that is prepackaged. For example, Apple’s iPhone comes with a nifty feature called Find My iPhone that can help you erase all of the data remotely. The article did not specify whether the FCC was going to require this for all wireless carriers.

In the digital age of today, our eyes are glued to our mobile phones. Don’t become a victim of mobile theft and make sure to have that phone glued to your side.

How else do you think the FCC can help?

Categories
Security

Don’t forget the cyber criminals

Continuing our media push, I wrote a guest post for Forbes.

High profile news throws a spotlight on how people feel about the privacy of their personal digital data, but for years, cybercrime has been stealing and selling it with very little coordinated public uproar.  This malaise must end.  The very real threat comes not from big faceless companies and governments, but those who seek to hide below the radar and the law.  A combined awakening needs to take place and governments, businesses and Internet users must pull together to fight this very current threat to personal data, because at the moment cyber crime is winning.

Check out the post and let me know what you think!

Categories
Security

Mysterious case of the broken browser

A friend of mine asked me to take a look as to why Google and Bing were inaccessible using Firefox. I dove in and realized that they were also unreachable using Internet Explorer, Chrome, and even command line ping. It became apparent that the hosts file had been hijacked. In fact, these entries were the only ones present:

87.229.126.50 www.google.com
87.229.126.51 www.bing.com

I swiftly removed them from the hosts file and both websites loaded fine. But what had put them there? With a working browser, a quick search revealed that those addresses were not legitimate and something had clearly hijacked the machine.

Knowing my friend to be an avid Malwarebytes Anti-Malware user, I checked the quarantine and found several objects. The main files appeared to be dplayx.dll and dplaysvr.exe and had several registry entries allowing them to start with the computer. I sent the files to Adam Kujawa, a Malware Intelligence Analyst working with me at Malwarebytes. Adam confirmed that this malware was responsible for the hosts file redirection.

However, a further analysis revealed a more cynical side. Adam continued by saying that “all binaries analyzed were heavily packed with custom obfuscation methods and employed anti-debugging tricks which made them a pain to get through” and that “the use of the filenames dplayx.dll and dplaysvr.exe is important because the names belong to legitimate applications and are integral parts of Direct X.”

While not new, the use of these particular filenames shows that malware authors are still trying to hide their executables behind legitimate names.

Categories
General

Holy spam, Batman!

As I arrived in London this morning I opened up my phone’s e-mail client and saw upwards of 1,000 e-mails downloading. At first, I had no idea what was going on, but then I realized they all had the same subject, “Please stop supporting the New York Times traitorous propaganda.” Spam, and lots of it. They are still coming in at one per minute.

Image of a sample e-mail attached. Anybody else getting these?

Categories
Security

Check if you’re a digital pirate

With all of the SOPA talk this month, I figured an article on piracy was deserving. Being able to pinpoint users of pirated software is becoming easier and more accurate. For example, check out YouHaveDownloaded.com, a website that lists the torrents you may have downloaded in a certain time span. While the website is not perfect, for those who have static IP addresses, it can get pretty close and provide you a list.

In one article on CNET, it was mentioned that “someone in the home of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a strong proponent of anti-piracy legislation, has been using BitTorrent to download pirated versions of music and movies.”

If the Stop Online Piracy Act passes in the United States, I’m sure technology to track torrents and other illegal downloads will improve. Consequently, imagine the privacy concerns I have for Internet users. This proof-of-concept website is scary enough!