February 26, 2014
Malware attacks are harmful enough, but serial attacks can be devastating. Many people and businesses around the world rely on computers for their daily needs. Although computers offer a fast and easy form of communication, they are also targets. This is especially true with computers and networks that belong to larger corporations. Just one well-planned attack by criminals can bring a business to a screeching halt. You can prevent this from happening to you, as there are many ways to keep such attacks at bay.
What is Malware?
Along with worms, phishing, and viruses, malware attacks are becoming very common. As more and more people rely on computers for their needs, attackers have a greater pool of potential victims from which to choose. Unfortunately, there is no way to keep a system completely safe from a potential attack. However, knowing how these attacks happen as well as being aware of some of the most common ways they are spread, can keep you alert while, possibly, reducing or eliminating potential damage.
When a person talks about malware, he or she is discussing a broad term that includes Trojan horse viruses, worms, and other system viruses. As long as you have an established Internet connection, whether it’s for business purposes or simply to browse the Internet and check your email, your computer may be at risk for a malware attack.
It is crucial to understand just how malware attacks a computer. There are a number of common ways, such as:
- Attacks through infected email attachments.
- Attacks through instant messages via attachments or instant messaging services.
- File sharing, especially through file sharing programs.
Social media and networks are an open invitation for malware and other criminal acts. While you are browsing the Internet, be mindful of third-party software and applications. Remember to give third-party applications consent for using your profile. You should also be wary of pirated software as it, oftentimes, contains malware. Unfortunately, pirated software usually appears to be legitimate, at first. However, the damage can spread quickly once the program has been downloaded to your computer system.
As soon as the malware is in your computer system, it works quickly to cause as much damage as possible in a short period of time. For example, an attack might begin by damaging the system’s boot sector and data files, as well as any software that is installed. As the attack continues, your files may become corrupted and your computer system might begin to shut down. Many times, these malicious programs are designed to spread into a system once it has successfully attacked.
Serial Malware Attacks
Serial malware attacks are frequently in the news, particularly when they involve high-profile businesses. Recently, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee questioned and criticized the U.S. financial institutions and retailers for failing to take part in more advanced cyber attack security measures. Additionally, senators wondered about notification procedures after several high-profile breaches and whether federal law enforcement agencies are doing enough to hunt down cyber criminals.
During the meeting, executives from Target and Neiman Marcus, both of which have lately revealed wide-scale breaches of their shoppers’ data, were called as witnesses before the committee. At the same time, lawyers showed their growing frustration over the slow pace at which the industry, as a whole, is moving toward technology that could provide additional security. One example is smart cars, which are already being used in various countries.
With regards to the Neiman Marcus security breach, a related Secret Service report stated that malware “comparable and perhaps even less sophisticated to the one in our case had a zero-percent detection rate” while using the security software that was available.
At the conclusion of the meeting, it was evident that the U.S. and its major retailers need to get up to speed to keep up with and try to prevent further malicious attacks. Once a system has been attacked, criminals know that they are more likely to be able to launch a successful attack in the future. Further attention was raised over the fact that these criminals do whatever they can to stay on top of technology and methods to thwart malicious attacks so that they can stay one step ahead.
Preventing Malware Attacks
Prevention is vital when it comes to malware attacks. Although it may not be possible to prevent any attack, having the right defenses and knowing how malware attacks occur can help reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
Some simple tips for those who use social media, which tends to be a target for malware attacks, include taking a close look at your list of friends and contacts, using caution while online, and adequately protecting your computer. Another good way to avoid becoming a victim of an attack is through the protection of your device with a malware removal tool.
If you use the Internet on a regular basis, you can be putting yourself and others at an increased risk for a malware attack. As we have learned from some of the newsworthy serial malware attacks in recent months, prevention is vital. The best forms of prevention include adequate computer security protection and knowing how and when malware attacks commonly occur.
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