Do you use WinZip?

Hackers have found yet another possible inroad they can use to infect the machines of unsuspecting users.

This time, they're infecting older versions of WinZip.

WinZip is extremely popular

If there's one utility that's nearly as ubiquitous as Adobe's Acrobat Reader, it would probably be WinZip.

In the 30+ years since its initial release, the handy tool has seen variants that are compatible with macOS, Android, iOS, all versions of Windows, and a few others. All told, it boasts more than a billion downloads, and that, of course, doesn't count the legions of people who got a copy from a friend. In short, it's a utility you can find on a majority of PCs and tablets running today. It's everywhere, and that's part of the problem.

Which version should you use?

The current version of WinZip is 25, but only a small minority of users are utilizing the latest build, and unfortunately, older versions check the server for updates via an unencrypted connection, which is a weakness all too easy for hackers to exploit.

Basically, if a hacker inserts himself into the update process, he can execute any arbitrary code he wants, and the machine will assume it's a WinZip update. Unfortunately, the only solution to the issue is to upgrade to WinZip 25, but where prior editions of the utility have been free, the latest WinZip update is paid. You'll need to shell out just over $35 for the basic version or just under $60 for the "Pro" version and that's pricey, especially when there are good free variants like 7Zip that can be found.

Our perspective

The bottom line though is that if you're using an older version of WinZip, you should be aware that every time the utility scans for an update, you open a door, even if only briefly, that may allow a watchful hacker access to devices on your network, and that's a problem.

~ As Hill Street Blues' Sgt. Esterhaus always advised: "Hey, let's be careful out there!" ~


By Denis Wilson

Cybersecurity Expert, Small Business Technology Consultant, Managed Services Provider, Managed IT Support

Thanks for reading this short post. For more tips on thriving with small business technology, check out the other blog posts at DWPIA Blogs. You can find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

I am also a published author and speaker in cloud computing, work at home, and cybersecurity. I am working extensively with business and professional associations to provide small business technology education programs. Contact me if you would like me to speak at your association

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