We Categorize the Web! zvelo is the industry-leading provider of web content categorization, malicious detection, and the zveloDB URL Database—helping antivirus vendors, web filtering providers, MSPs, CASBs, ISPs, Telcos, device manufacturers, ad tech companies, and others make the internet a safer place for all!

Phishing Alert: Rejected Federal Tax Payment Scam

zveloLABS detected a suspicious-looking email purporting to come from the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) of the U.S. Treasury Department. This email is fraudulent and claims that “Your Federal Tax Payment ID has been rejected.” The payment rejection is falsely attributed to the use of an invalid identification number. Here is an example of the actual phishing email (see image 01), followed by some observations that should raise red flags about its validity.

How Excessive Admin Features Can Lead to Security Headaches

At DEF CON 2012 in Las Vegas I sat through a presentation titled “Owning One to Rule them All,” hosted by penetration testers Dave Kennedy and Dave DeSimone. They discussed a recent penetration test that utilized Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager (MSCCM) to gain access to essentially an entire network of computers. MSCCM is intended to streamline the management of multiple devices – desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets – within IT infrastructures. While a tool like MSCCM may seem convenient, granting too many administrative features can lead to more serious network security headaches, including breaches.

Raising AutoCat: Web Analysts Role in zvelo Categorization Accuracy

Imagine for a second you were presented with a superhuman baby having the ability to learn and retain vast amounts of information. We’ll make it a girl super baby as a tribute to fem-heroes of comic book past. Now, what if on your shoulders lays the opportunity to raise her up and teach her the sum of all human knowledge that ever existed? Like every good mentor, you watch her closely making sure her misunderstandings and confusions are always kept checked, corrected, and resolved. You take pride in how accurate she becomes and are quick to reply “Bring it!” to anyone who wants to test her knowledge. Here at zvelo this what-if situation is a reality and I’d like to share with you the experience of training and working with an intelligent being day after day.

Use of Web Anonymizers to Hide Illegal Online Activity on the Rise

The recent crackdown on well-known Torrent services, aided by Internet Service Providers, has led to the increasing use of anonymizers. As the name implies, anonymizers allow for anonymous web browsing and are used by end users to bypass restrictions or blocks to web content. Anonymizers are proxy services, or “proxies,” that receive and execute web requests on behalf of the user, making online activity untraceable. It is the untraceable aspect of anonymizers that has caught the attention of the underground community.

IWF Releases 2011 Annual Report – Shocking Statistics

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), now in its 16th year of combatting some of the worst online criminal content, has released its 2011 Annual and Charity Report. In it, the IWF disclosed some alarming trends and statistics about the proliferation of child sexual abuse images online. The IWF also noted significant successes in combatting this inappropriate type of web content, as detailed in the following excerpts.

Brand Safety a Top Priority for Online Advertisers

Brand safety is one of the most important metrics of success for online advertisers. Ad placements on inappropriate web pages can negatively impact brand appeal, leading to lost revenue. PR nightmares will also erupt if ads are delivered onto malicious or compromised websites, which tend to frequently go online and offline. Publishers and online advertising delivery vendors are challenged with addressing the brand safety demand head on, and while some entities have stepped up through noted technological innovation, others still lag in winning over advertiser sentiment.

Malware Distribution Point Detection – a Case Study

The media consistently warns people that clicking on links within emails from unknown sources can be dangerous. What about links in seemingly harmless emails received from individuals of trust? More so, what if the URL of a said link points to a familiar website? In recent weeks, zveloLABS® has identified several websites that appear benign in nature at first glance, but after further analysis these sites have been categorized as malware distribution points. What made the following case study interesting is that none of the well-known Internet blacklists and malware analysis tools flagged these URLS as being malicious. The following analysis shows how these trusted control mechanisms were circumvented with nothing more than a guise and a fundamental understanding of how the Internet operates.

Protecting Business Networks From Drive By Spam Attacks

”Drive by” spam attacks are a growing business network security risk, affecting those who open emails containing a malicious script that downloads malware to the user’s PC that ultimately infects the company’s network. These emails don’t always include an attachment. Some HTML-based varieties are reported to be activated with the mere opening of an email and nothing more.