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May 20, 2014

Could Your Computer Be Infected by Blackshades?

Here’s a list of possible indicators that your computer may be infected with Blackshades or similar remote access tool malware:

  • Mouse cursor moves erratically with no input from user;
  • Web camera light (if equipped) unexpectedly turns on when web camera is not in use;
  • Monitor turns off while in use;
  • Usernames and passwords for online accounts have been compromised;
  • Unauthorized logins to bank accounts or unauthorized money transfers;
  • Text-based chat window appears on your computer’s desktop unexpectedly;
  • Computer files become encrypted and ransom demand is made to unlock files.

Blackshades malware affects Microsoft Windows-based operating systems. If you believe you or someone you know may have a computer that is infected with this malware, search the computer’s hard drive for the following files that are known to be present on Blackshade-infected computers:

  • dos_sock.bss
  • nir_cmd.bss
  • pws_cdk.bss
  • pws_chro.bss
  • pws_ff.bss
  • pws_mail.bss
  • pws_mess.bss

To perform the above check, click the Start menu and type each file name in the search field. If the search yields positive matches for one or more of these files, the computer may be infected with Blackshades.

In addition to the above files being added to the computer’s hard drive, Blackshades also makes modifications to the Windows registry. The exact location may vary depending on the verson of the Microsoft Windows you’re using, but the following registry subkey is added:

  • Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VBandVBA Program Settings\SrvID\ID\[string of letters and numbers]

To perform a check for this registry modification, take the following steps:

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Type “regedit” in the search field.
  3. Execute the Registry Editor (regedit.exe). If prompted, select “Yes” to allow the program to make changes to the computer.
  4. Select “Edit” from the window toolbar.
  5. Select “Find” from the Edit menu.
  6. Type “SrvID” in the Find field.

Anyone who performs the above checks and gets positive results is encouraged to submit a complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Please include the term “Blackshades” in the incident description section of the complaint.

And for assistance on removing Blackshades, please contact your Internet service provider, your antivirus software company, or another computer security professional.

(Back to story)


Stephen Walt: The “special relationship” and what has changed since The Israel Lobby book

Presentation at the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club.

Stephen M. Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; previously taught at Princeton University, University of Chicago.

What’s wrong with the ADL survey and how it could be improved

Jackie Mason

There has been a lot of criticism of the ADL’s worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, and many of the obvious flaws in the study already have been discussed (or linked to) here. At the outset, the organization that commissioned the study is hardly a disinterested, unbiased observer. An ADL study on anti-Semitism should be greeted with the same skepticism as a tobacco industry study on the effects of second-hand smoke.

The ADL has multiple interests in exaggerating and even promoting the threat of anti-Semitism. First, ADL perpetually has its hand out for donations, and what better way to motivate donors than a screaming headline that there are one billion anti-Semitic adults on the planet? In fact it wasted no time in doing that here, as ADL’s home page trumpets the frightening results and offers visitors an easy way to “Help ADL Change the World” with a single click. Just have your VISA card ready. It is difficult to imagine that the survey was not planned, at least in part, as a fundraiser, with foreknowledge of a direct relationship between the quantification of the danger and the anticipated revenues.

Second, the ADL enhances its own prestige and even justifies its existence with the looming threat of anti-Semitism. This point was scathingly made a few years ago by an unlikely source, the comedian Jackie Mason, a steadfast pro-Israel voice who has been known to dabble unapologetically in anti-Palestinian racism.  Mason, for reasons of his own,  passionately defended Mel Gibson following his drunken anti-Semitic tirade. Gibson’s detractors were motivated, said Mason, by

jealousy and hate and contempt for a guy who’s doing too good. Also with this guy Abe Foxman, this head of the ADL. Another fake from top to bottom. I don’t talk about people, it’s not my nature, but he’s a total fake. Let’s be honest about it. Anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow-up racism in order to justify himself and the job he has, otherwise he’d have to go to work. Otherwise he’d have to get up in the morning and get a real job.

Finally, the ADL makes no secret of its own pro-Israel agenda. Israel, like the ADL itself, feeds off the perception of worldwide anti-Semitism, which serves to portray the country as a necessary refuge for Jews from the threat of persecution.


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