As the Internet becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, we must all learn how to defend against new types of online attacks. While viruses remain a threat, today’s hackers commonly use vicious multi-layered attacks, such as a worm in a chat message that displays a link to a web page infected with a Trojan horse. “Worms” have been found that tunnel though programs, uncovering new vulnerabilities and reporting them back to hackers. The hackers then quickly assemble malware (malicious software) from pre-made components, exploiting the vulnerability before the majority of people can download a fix.
Below you will find the best tips that you can employ to protect yourself against these emerging sophisticated, multi-faceted threats.
What Can Malware Do to My PC?
Malware opens up backdoors on infected systems, giving hackers direct access to the hijacked PC. In this scenario, a hacker can have the infected PC upload personal information to a remote system, or to turn the PC into a remotely controlled ‘bot used in criminal activity.
Hackers are designing their attacks to target specific high-value victims instead of simply launching mass-mailing worms and viruses. These programs are being created specifically for data theft.
What About P2P?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking has become a launching pad for viruses. Attackers incorporate spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, and worms into their free downloads. One of the most dangerous features of many P2P programs is the “browse host” feature that allows others to directly connect to your computer and browse through file shares.
P2P can accidentally give access to logins, user IDs and passwords; Quicken files and credit reports; personal information such as letters, chat logs, cookies, and emails; and medical records you accidentally house in accessible folders on your PC. As with email and instant messages, viruses in P2P files are capable of weaving their way through as many users as they can, stealing information and delivering it to cybercriminals who forge identities and commit fraud.