Malware growth has reached its highest levels, with an average of 60,000 new pieces of malware identified every day, according to the latest threat report from security firm McAfee.
Cyber criminals are becoming more savvy and attacks increasingly more severe, said the threat report for the third quarter of 2010.
Most recently, cybercriminals unleashed the Zeus botnet aimed at mobile devices, designed to intercept SMS messages to validate transactions. As a result, the report said criminals can perform the full bank operation, stealing funds from unsuspecting victims.
And the rates are just continuing to climb…
First, a big congratulations for surviving and not getting more malware infections than all previous years combined. We did not spend more time fighting malware infections than in previous years. That means that we can all feel good that we’re going something right. Please keep it up.
As a refresher, here’s how you avoid letting the bad guys steal from you:
- Have a good properly configured firewall that is smart enough to catch malformed packets
- Have current anti-virus software
- Keep your PC’s’ and Server operating systems current
- Keep all software fully patched
- Keep your eyes open for websites that don’t look quite right
- Don’t click on attachments in email
- Don’t click on ads in webpages
- Don’t believe everything you read in email or on the web
Things to avoid:
- Facebook – Be careful who you “like”. If you don’t know them don’t accept them as friends. There are fake user accounts out there whose sole purpose is to steal your account.
- Facebook – Who viewed your profile? This is malware. Once installed it will steal your account and start posting in your name. Beware of Facebook ads in general.
- Fake Updates – found mostly on porn and sports websites where videos are displayed, a fake update for the video player of your choice will pop up. This is not a update for your video player, it is malware asking you to install it.
- UPS, Amazon, and other sites – After visiting you may receive an email with information about your “purchase” or shipment. It’s a fake. They are after your account information or credit card information.
- IRS – The IRS is going digital and the criminals are really coming out of the woodwork to try to redirect your dollars. They can only do this with your help. An email comes letting you know that there was a problem with your monthly deposit. Click the link and go to a VERY real looking website and resend it – to the criminals.
You may have noticed that it’s no longer your computer that’s the problem. It has become very difficult for a virus to install itself. These things get installed and cause harm because they have fooled you into thinking that they are legitimate. They ask you to install them because they can no longer do it themselves. Small business is the main target of cyber crime today. Why? Because they know that most small business don’t take security as seriously as larger businesses do and so small business and home computers are viewed as the easily picked low hanging fruit. Sure, there’s not a lot of dollars to be had from any individual or small business, but that doesn’t matter because these guys don’t attack one person at a time, like a pick pocket. They use the power of the Internet to pick a million pocket simultaneously.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spiderman
If only they used their power for good. These malware writers are smart, it’s too bad they are also greedy. Be careful out there and call us if you see anything that you are unsure about.