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Malware - you have to get smarter!

Is it me, or do the frequency and severity of viruses keep increasing?

Save yourself time, money and peace of mind – outsmart those people writing computer viruses!

Computer viruses are a pain.  The world would be a better place without them and we all wish those people would find a constructive way to utilize their God-given talents.  Until things change, however, we just have to be smarter than them.

Viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware and even the newer creations like ransom-ware are collectively lumped into a category called malware. “Mal”, as in bad. 

Most malware is written to exploit vulnerabilities found in software we use every day.  Yes, people sit around and look for ways to intentionally break things like Windows, Internet Explorer, Flash and others.  Once someone finds a repeatable way to break the software, they publish it in nefarious corners of the internet.  OK, some people actually do this for good, too.  They report their findings to the software manufacturer.  If you happen to be one of those guys, then thank you for your work.  But they are not the people with whom we have an issue.

Once the people doing bad things learn about the vulnerability, the quickly program a method to exploit vulnerability and create an attack method.  The software producer is concurrently trying to reprogram their software to fix the vulnerability and release a “patch”.  They do this at a feverish pace all while trying not to break some other part of their software or to introduce a new vulnerability because of their haste.

Guess who’s caught in the middle of these two groups of people engaged in their race?  That’s right!  You and me.

The malware producers are counting on the fact that many computers now have antimalware programs these days.  Oh yes, they are quite crafty, indeed.  Once their payload is inside your computer, one of the first things many do is disable your antimalware defenses.  It’s like they send in the Special Forces to take out all of your defenses, then the signal out to the main forces to let the full-force invasion begin.

But how do these guys get into your system?  I’m sure you didn’t see paratroopers that looked like 1s and 0s come sailing down through your internet connection.  So how do they do it?  This is a very worthwhile question to ask.

They do it in the most casual of ways.  You must learn to spot these methods and consistently, relentlessly thwart their every effort in order to remain secure and free. 

In the next few blog entries, I’ll cover common ways people have their computers infected with malware.