Security alert – three US-based antivirus software packages BREACHED! Are you using them?

Posted on: May 22, 2019

Last week, there were numerous reports that several major antivirus companies have been hacked. It’s all revealed now – Russian hackers breached Symantec (Norton Antivirus), TrendMicro, and McAfee products used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. TrendMicro, in particular, is very popular in New Zealand. If you bought your computer from Noel Leeming, chances are, you are using TrendMicro for your antivirus.

TrendMicro, Norton and McAfee Antivirus breached

The hacking group has obtained the source code of the software of these firms by attacking their internal networks and compromising their servers. The hackers have put the stolen information for sale on the dark web. They are asking for just $300k but whoever buys the source code, will have full access to how the software operates and protects the customers’ computers from malware and ransomware. Access to the source code will allow them to create viruses that could easily avoid detection and wreak havoc on computers worldwide.

If you are using one of the breached products, we recommend you remove them as soon as possible. The most popular antiviruses made by these companies are:

– TrendMicro Premium Security
– TrendMicro Maximum Security
– Norton Antivirus
– Norton Security Premium
– Norton 360
– McAfee Total Protection
– McAfee LiveSafe

Also, McAfee and Norton also make toolbars, with the names like SiteAdvisor, WebAdvisor, TrustedSource and the like. The easiest way to find those is by right-clicking the Start Menu in Windows. Click on Apps and Features (top-most level) and search the list by typing “Norton”, “Symantec”, “TrendMicro” and “McAfee”. If you find anything, remove it.

Most of these antivirus solutions are not free and usually come with annual subscriptions. After you remove them, don’t forget to cancel your subscription or else you’ll be paying for what you don’t use. And hey, if the hackers got a hold of financial details, your credit cards might be breached as well 

You may be wondering what to replace the removed antiviruses with. Windows 10 has its own antivirus, called Windows Defender. While it’s far from perfect and doesn’t stop the most sneaky and dangerous viruses, it’s usually good enough for prudent and responsible adults. If you don’t click on dodgy links, download software and movies from the Internet and very careful when it comes to your browsing habits, that’s all you need. You can supplement it with a free version of Malwarebytes to do monthly scans.

If, on the other hand, you need better protection, consider paying for a top-rated antivirus like Emsisoft Anti-Malware. It’s very lightweight but has two scanning engines that protect even against ransomware. Bring your computer to us, and we can remove the compromised software and install proper protection for you.

Another reminder – antivirus is usually the last layer of defence against malware. If you are using up-to-date operating systems and software, have safe browsing and email habits and use content filtering and ads blocking, you drastically reduce your chances of ever getting infected.

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