Posts Tagged virus and mobile malware
West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes in Lebanon.
The testing was confirmed on Friday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Dr. Stephen Sears, the state epidemiologist. Lebanon Selectman Jason Cole sent out a release Friday night confirmed that the mosquitoes were in the York County town.
“The Lebanon Board of Selectmen notified its emergency service leaders, emergency management and school officials to get the word out and to educate responders in case questions are asked,” Cole said.
Testing will continue in York County to see if other mosquitoes carry the virus, Sears said. Testing routinely occurs throughout the state to check on the presence of West Nile virus.
About 30 pools of mosquitoes with the virus have been confirmed in New Hampshire, Sears said. West Nile virus has been found in Massachusetts as well.
Mosquito pools refer to mosquitoes collected in a trap and can number between 10 to 50 insects, Sears said. They are tested for the virus as a group.
He said insect repellent can be used to ward off mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can be most active from dusk to dawn, so another form of prevention is not eating outside after sunset. Cole also suggested using screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
Areas of standing water, such as around plant pots, should be minimized because mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, Sears said.
West Nile virus has no treatment or vaccine. It has flu-like symptoms and is rarely fatal. Most deaths occur among people with underlying health conditions.
Maine had no mosquitoes found with the virus last year, but Sears said one pool with it was found in 2010. No cases of the virus in people in Maine have been documented.
Information about symptoms of West Nile virus and what can be done about it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Today, McAfee released a new version of McAfee Mobile Security to provide enhanced privacy for smartphone and tablet users. Built with additional features to ensure that apps are not accessing users’
personal information without their knowledge, McAfee Mobile Security is designed to preserve their privacy and protect against financial fraud, identity theft, and viruses. One key feature of this solution is App Alert technology, part of McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence Network, which reports app permissions, checks against a URL reputation database, and reports the apps that are associated with and/or may be sending personal data to risky sites (including adware and spyware networks).
The use of mobile apps is growing in parallel with the increased use in mobile devices. Earlier this year, Google estimated 20 billion apps had been downloaded on the Android platform and according to a recent report by comScore on mobile social media usage, 33 per cent of apps ask for more permissions than they need. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California at Berkeley report on Android Permissions found that 97 per cent of users don’t understand how permissions correspond to the risks of an app. In addition, McAfee Labs has discovered approximately five per cent of apps in its database are associated with risky URLs.
This summer alone, McAfee has seen an increase in threats targeting Android devices. The Android operating system continues to be the most popular target for writers of mobile malware – including SMS-sending malware, mobile botnets, spyware, and destructive Trojans. To stay safe, users should research apps and their publishers thoroughly and check the ratings before installing. They should also purchase from a well-known reputable app store market, watch for permissions (stay away from installing apps that don’t look right) and install antivirus software on their phone.
McAfee Mobile Security software is available from Google Play and McAfee for $29.99 CDN. The software is also available via McAfee All Access, a suite of products that helps consumers to connect, surf, and socialize online, knowing their computer, laptop, netbook, smartphone and tablet is safe.
For more information on McAfee’s consumer to enterprise mobile security offerings, please visit www.mcafee.com/mobilesecurity.
The first bird in Alameda County to test positive for West Nile Virus this year was detected Friday morning, the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District manager said.
The crew found the dead crow in Livermore Thursday after someone called the West Nile Virus hotline and reported the bird in the area, district manager John Rusmisel said.
Testing this morning at Hayward facilities revealed the bird was the first “acutely positive” bird in Alameda County, Rusmisel said.
Crows and ravens are good indicators that the virus is being spread within the county limits as they die quickly after infection from mosquitoes, Rusmisel said. Other birds, such as sparrows, can live and fly far distances while carrying the virus for months, throwing off where the infection was contracted.
That the infected crow was found in Livermore, which is part of the Tri-Valley area, is not surprising, the district manager said.
“We predict that the Tri-Valley area, being the warmest part of the county, will be the focus of West Nile Virus infections this year.”
Rusmisel advised residents to check outdoor spaces for standing water.
Other tips to prevent residents from mosquito bites and therefore West Nile Virus, which is spread through the bugs, include avoiding spending time outdoors at dusk and dawn, wearing DEET insect repellent and dressing appropriately when outdoors in buggy areas.
For more information about mosquitoes and West Nile Virus visit mosquitoes.org.
ATLANTA – All baby boomers should get a one-time blood test to learn if they have the liver-destroying hepatitis C virus, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
It can take decades for the blood-borne virus to cause liver damage and symptoms to emerge, so many people don’t know they’re harboring it. Baby boomers account for about two-thirds of the estimated 3.2 million infected Americans.
More than 15,000 Americans die each year from hepatitis C-related illnesses and the number has been growing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Unless we take action, we project deaths will increase substantially,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, in a call with reporters.
Hepatitis C virus is most commonly spread today through sharing needles to inject drugs. Before widespread screening of blood donations began in 1992, it was also spread through blood transfusions.
The virus can gradually scar the liver and lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer, and is the leading cause of liver transplant. It can trigger damage in other parts of the body, as well.
It’s possible some people were infected in ways other than dirty needles or long-ago blood transfusions. Some experts say tattoos, piercings, shared razor blades and toothbrushes, manicures and sniffed cocaine may have caused the virus to spread in some cases.
However it happened, health officials say baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults.
Officials said they decided to issue the recommendations after seeing the number of Americans dying from hepatitis C-related diseases nearly double from 1999 to 2007.
Another reason: Two drugs hit the market last year that promise to cure many more people than was previously possible.
Previously, testing was recommended only for people considered at highest risk, like current and former injection drug users.
About 3 percent of baby boomers test positive for the virus, the CDC estimates. Of those, some manage to clear the infection from their bodies without treatment, but still have lingering antibodies that give a positive initial test result. That’s why confirmatory tests are needed.
Still, only a quarter of infected people are that lucky. Most have active and dangerous infections, health officials said.
“I have met too many patients who were diagnosed with hepatitis C at the time they developed liver cancer or when they needed a liver transplant,” said Dr. Andrew Muir, a Duke University physician who is a leader in an advocacy organization called the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.
The CDC call for testing is “a bold and important move,” Muir said in a statement.
The recommendation applies to people born from 1945 to 1965 who have not already been tested. They should get a blood test at their next visit to the doctor, Frieden said.
The CDC proposed the new guidelines earlier this year and made them final on Thursday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
McAfee is expanding its mobile security software for Android tablets and smartphones, as it sees an increase in threats targeting Android devices, the Intel subsidiary announced on Monday.
The new Mobile Security software has features that help ensure that apps are not accessing personal information without the user’s knowledge, and reports on apps that may be sending personal data to risky sites such as adware and spyware networks, McAfee said in a news release. The software should also protect customers against financial fraud, identity theft and viruses, it said.
The new security suite also allows users to filter their App Alert notifications in apps that are using permissions the user deems important, and it checks if apps are associated with risky URLs, McAfee said, adding that McAfee Labs has discovered that approximately five percent of apps in its database are associated with risky URLs.
This summer, McAfee has seen an increase in threats targeting Android devices, the company said. “The Android operating system continues to be the most popular target for writers of mobile malware–including SMS-sending malware, mobile botnets, spyware, and destructive Trojans,” according to McAfee. To steer clear from malicious apps, users should research apps and app publishers and check ratings before they decide to install the software, it said.
As security firms concentrate more and more on mobile offerings, adding new features such as privacy controls is very important, in particular to protect the user from banking fraud or identity theft, said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.
But the problem for security companies is that most users don’t regard mobile security problems as a big threat, he said. “Turning mobile security into a meaningful product has proven to be difficult,” he said.
McAfee’s mobile security software recently surpassed one million downloads on Google Play, the Android app store. This proves that consumers are not really concerned, said Wood, who added that one million downloads is a fairly small number if you keep in mind that there are tens of millions of Android devices sold.
“There are a lot of companies in the mobile security space,” Wood said, who reckoned that there is a big potential in the mobile security market. But to convince consumers that there is a need for mobile security software, there first has to be a disastrous mobile security problem that affects many users so they become aware of the threat, he said. “Then everybody rushes off to buy it,” he added.
Other security companies as F-Secure, AVG and Lookout Mobile Security are also betting on a growing mobile security market, and they hope that one day the mobile security market will become as big as the security market for PCs, said Wood. Most consumers understand how important security as a virus scanner and firewall are when using a PC, he said.
McAfee offers its mobile security software package for US$29.99 for a one-year subscription, and it is also available for BlackBerry and Symbian devices. The company did not immediately reply to a request to comment on any plans to expand the privacy enhancements of its Android product to their Symbian and BlackBerry offerings.
Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Over in China, Google Play only has a limited presence, and as such many independent Android app stores have appeared in the country due to the popularity of Android devices. However it appears that a new virus has been discovered that has apparently already affected in excess of half a million Android devices, and is capable of making unauthorised payments, and that virus is known as SMSZombie.
According to a report over on The Next Web, anti-virus specialist TrustGo discovered the SMSZombie malware that is said to be able to access bank and card details, past bill and payment history and make payments, and the said virus was first discovered back on the 25th of July, whilst TrustGo claims they are the first to locate the virus and offer a method to remove the malware that apparently ‘barricades’ itself into affected devices.
Word is apps infected with SMSZombie have been found in one of China’s most prominent app stores, GFan, along with other places and word has it SMSZombie has infected over 500,000 Android users thus far, and although that’s not that big a quantity when you consider China Mobile has 683 million subscribers, the malware does have the opportunity to cause trouble for quite a few with unauthorised transactions.
Apparently ThrustGo states that the creators of SMSZombie have managed to avoid attention by users large bills, and thus far have recharged accounts for such things as online gaming sites and other services simply by making ‘relatively low’ deposits via infected smartphones.
The virus lurks in wallpaper apps and activates post-download, and then access the user’s SMS functionality and then exploits a vulnerability in the SMS payment gateway of China Mobile, and TrustGo says infected users can make use of their suite of mobile security app that scan for viruses in real time, and is available from Google Play, or they can hit up Here, where they can gain details on how to remove the SMSZombie malware.
5:09 p.m. CDT, August 15, 2012
Published Friday, Aug. 17 2012, 4:40 PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Aug. 17 2012, 4:40 PM EDT
El Paso health officials confirm the first case of West Nile virus in the 79935 postal code area, and the 54-year-old man is currently hospitalized.
This is the first case of West Nile virus in the county compared to four cases at this time last year. There were seven cases in 2011.
Health officials are urging residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease in El Paso.
“We are carefully monitoring the West Nile virus situation and will keep the public informed. We encourage everybody to be aware of mosquitoes and disease they might carry at all times,” said Michael Hill, the department’s director.
Due to the high number of human cases of the virus in Dallas County, Texas, a state of emergency has been declared in Dallas, and mosquito spraying may start as early as today, officials said.
According to health officials, so far in 2012, 43 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Nationally, 693 cases of West Nile virus in people, including 26 deaths, have been reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 693 cases reported thus far in 2012 are the highest number of West Nile virus cases reported to the CDC through the second week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. More than 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states – Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and California – and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm.