Hackers and crackers, malware writers, and cyber-criminals have a variety of motives for installing malicious software using various methods and techniques to spread their malicious programs: Who Writes Malicious Programs and Why?
Rogue security programs are one of the most common sources of malware infection and scams across the Internet. They infect machines by using social engineering and other common scams to trick a user into spending money on a security program, which claims to remove malware - but actually does the opposite. These infections are responsible for launching unwanted pop ups, advertising for rogue antispyware programs, and downloading more malicious software.
Many variants typically use fake warning messages and alerts on the Internet to indicate that your computer is infected with spyware or has critical errors, which is a scare tactic to trick you into downloading a malicious security application to fix it. The alerts can mimic system messages so they appear as if they are generated by the Windows Operating System.
The problem with these types of infections is that they can download other malicious software so the extent of the infection can vary, which make it more difficult to remove.
Relevant links for rogue programs:
Many infections are spread by using peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs. They are a security risk which can make your computer more in danger of malware, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Malicious software such as: worms, backdoor Trojans, IRCBots, and rootkits spread across P2P file sharing networks. Infections also spread through gaming, porn and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see cool-looking banner ads containing code that can trigger a drive-by download and infection. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. Infection can also spread through emails containing links to websites that exploit your web browser’s security holes and by exploiting a vulnerability in older versions of Sun Java Runtime Environment (Java).
Relevant links for malicious software:
- University of Washington spyware study
- One in 10 web pages laced with malware
- [u]IM attacks get nastier
- IM attacks up nearly 80%
- Malicious website evolution
- IFrame Hack (PHP Exploit)
- Researchers uncover tool used to infect websites, spread malware
- One webpage gets infected by virus every 5 seconds
- SQL Injection Overview
- Threat and Vulnerability Mitigation: SQL Injection
Please read the following information that I have provided, which will help you prevent malicious software in the future. Please keep in mind, malware is a continuous danger on the Internet. It is highly important to stay safe while browsing, to prevent re-infection.
Free antivirus programs provide a temporary means to prevent malware on your computer. However, don't expect maximum protection. To see the best list of antivirus software premium, click here (Scroll down to premium).
- Microsoft Security Essentials: this is Microsoft's free antivirus/antispyware program. It equips you with protection against viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, and worms. It is also light on the computer's performance.
- Avast! Free: this is an advanced malware removal antivirus program. The free version equips you with protection against viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, worms, and rogue software.
- Avira Antivir: this is an advanced malware removal antivirus program. The free version equips you with protection against viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits, worms, and rogue software.
- Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is a great malware removal program and protection module. It is recommended for anyone's arsenal. This is linked to the paid version, which is highly recommended. See a review.
SpywareBlaster is a program that prevents spyware from installing on your computer. A tutorial on using SpywareBlaster may be found here.
Note: Please keep ALL of these programs up-to-date and run them whenever you suspect a problem to prevent malware problems.
Resident Protection help
A number of programs have resident protection and it is a good idea to run the resident protection of one of each type of program to maintain protection. However, it is important to run only one resident program of each type since they can conflict and become less effective. That means only one antivirus, firewall, and scanning anti-spyware program at a time. Passive protectors such as SpywareBlaster can be run with any of them.
Securing your computer
- Windows Updates - It is very important to make sure that Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, and Windows are kept current with the latest critical security patches from Microsoft.
- hpHosts file replaces your current HOSTS file with one containing well known ad sites and other bad sites. This prevents your computer from connecting to those sites by redirecting them to 127.0.0.1, which is your local computer's loopback address, meaning it will be difficult to infect your computer in the future.
- Web-of-Trust is a browser extension for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. It warns you about sites that have a bad activity score, or just plain untrustworthy. It is a free warning tool, and will keep you from going to bad sites.
- Disable Autorun: XP -- Vista/7.
Please consider using an alternate browser
- Mozilla Firefox is a very good alternative. In addition to being generally more secure than Internet Explorer, it has a very good built-in popup blocker and add-ons, like NoScript, can make it even more secure.
- Opera is another good option. Opera has great built-in security features, and is a newer browsing experience. It also "fast-loads" pages so you do not have to wait a long time for pages to load.
Links to good prevention information:
- Simple and easy ways to keep your computer safe and secure on the Internet
- Defense-in-Depth Guide
- Testing your Firewall
- Your Guide To Staying Safe Online
- Hardening Windows Security - Part 1 & Part 2
- Configuring Internet Explorer for Practical Security and Privacy - How to Secure Your Web Browser
- Use Task Manager to close pop-up messages to safely exit malware attacks
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