Friday, August 26, 2011

Trick and No Treat with Scareware - Part 4

Visiting a Web Site Can Be Dangerous to Your Computer's Health!

If you didn't fall for the fancy websites and advertisements promoting scareware as a legitimate virus protection program, how else can you get scareware installed on your computer? Unfortunately, you can get scareware installed on your computer with out you being aware of it. The same methods used to get different kinds of malware on your computer are used to infect your computer with scareware.

These methods have changed recently in response to better security protections being used by businesses and home users. What cybercrimals have discovered is that is more difficult to spread malware through the network with increasing adoption of firewalls. Email filtering has made an it more difficult to distribute scareware through email spam. As a result malware and scareware are increasingly distributed through web browsers. Simply by visiting a website your computer can be infected with scareware. What's more, virus protection applications rarely detect this kind of attack.

To infect a computer through a web browser, an attacker must accomplish one of two tasks. Either, they must find a way to get a victim to visit an infected website, or get the victim to click a link on a compromised advertisement. The website may be a site the cybercriminal has created. The website can also be a legitimate website that has been attacked then HTML code has been inserted by the cybercrimal and this compromise has not been detected by the website owner. Usually, large organizations have the IT staff and resources to detect when their organization website has been attacked and compromised. But, smaller businesses do not have these resources. As a result there are a lot of small businesses whose websites are being used to distribute malware and are not aware of it.

To combat this latest method of distribution, search engine companies such as Google and Yahoo have developed "blacklist" of websites that contain malicious code. This protection method is not full proof, and there are still many websites that come up on search results that are compromised. It is a cat and mouse game. Protections are put in place to thwart cybercriminal attacks, so the cybercriminals change their methods to get around the protections.

How do you protect yourself? Continue to use firewalls, virus protection, and the major search engines. You can add to the protections your are currently using by obtaining a website monitor software such as McAfee SiteAdvisor. A power user suggestion: If you using Windows XP, logon to a user account that does not have Administrator privileges, and if you use Windows 7 keep UAC (User Account Control) turned on. Perhaps, the best protection is to stay informed.


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