Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Danger in the internet cafe? New computer security threat for wireless networks: Typhoid adware

Date:
May 24, 2010
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
There's a potential threat lurking in your internet café, say computer science researchers. It's called Typhoid adware and works in similar fashion to Typhoid Mary, the first identified healthy carrier of typhoid fever who spread the disease to dozens of people in the New York area in the early 1900s.

John Aycock (left) and student Daniel Medeiros Nunes de Castro have predicted a new computer security threat: Typhoid adware.
Credit: Leanne Yohemas, University of Calgary

There's a potential threat lurking in your internet café, say University of Calgary computer science researchers. It's called Typhoid adware and works in similar fashion to Typhoid Mary, the first identified healthy carrier of typhoid fever who spread the disease to dozens of people in the New York area in the early 1900s.

Related Articles


"Our research describes a potential computer security threat and offers some solutions," says associate professor John Aycock, who co-authored a paper with assistant professor Mea Wang and students Daniel Medeiros Nunes de Castro and Eric Lin. "We're looking at a different variant of adware -- Typhoid adware -which we haven't seen out there yet, but we believe could be a threat soon."

Adware is software that sneaks onto computers often when users download things, for example fancy tool bars or free screen savers, and it typically pops up lots and lots of ads. Typhoid adware needs a wireless internet café or other area where users share a non-encrypted wireless connection.

"Typhoid adware is designed for public places where people bring their laptops," says Aycock. "It's far more covert, displaying advertisements on computers that don't have the adware installed, not the ones that do."

The paper demonstrates how Typhoid adware works as well as presents solutions on how to defend against such attacks. De Castro recently presented it at the EICAR conference in Paris, a conference devoted to IT security.

Typically, adware authors install their software on as many machines as possible. But Typhoid adware comes from another person's computer and convinces other laptops to communicate with it and not the legitimate access point. Then the Typhoid adware automatically inserts advertisements in videos and web pages on the other computers. Meanwhile, the carrier sips her latté in peace -- she sees no advertisements and doesn't know she is infected ¬- just like symptomless Typhoid Mary.

U of C researchers have come up with a number of defenses against Typhoid adware. One is protecting the content of videos to ensure that what users see comes from the original source. Another is a way to "tell" laptops they are at an Internet café to make them more suspicious of contact from other computers.

"When you go to an Internet café, you tell your computer you are there and it can put up these defenses. Anti-virus companies can do the same thing through software that stops your computer from being misled and re-directed to someone else," says Aycock.

Why worry about ads? Aycock explains it this way: "Not only are ads annoying but they can also advertise rogue antivirus software that's harmful to your computer, so ads are in some sense the tip of the iceberg."

The paper Typhoid Adware can be found: http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~aycock/papers/eicar10.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Danger in the internet cafe? New computer security threat for wireless networks: Typhoid adware." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100521191436.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2010, May 24). Danger in the internet cafe? New computer security threat for wireless networks: Typhoid adware. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100521191436.htm
University of Calgary. "Danger in the internet cafe? New computer security threat for wireless networks: Typhoid adware." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100521191436.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) — American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) — Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins