Malware (or Malicious Software), in all of its forms, seems to be the greatest threat to everyone’s computer and every network. Malware shows up in a variety of forms: Trojan Horses, Viruses, Worms, Rootkits, Logic Bombs, and Spyware. Generally speaking, malware attacks exploit vulnerabilities that could be prevented if we would just automatically our computers and anti-virus software. It is also a great idea to use both anti-virus software and anti-malware software.
Trojan Horses is a malware that is a reference to the Greek horse perceived to be a gift to the city of Troy, but was used to infiltrate the city defenses. Same idea applies, this malware is generally sent via email and is executed when you open the email, or execute the program.
Viruses are usually self-replicating programs which are attached to executable files and essentially chew up all your useable memory.
Worms are self-propagating programs which load up into memory, exploit known specific software vulnerability and often are a main cause of computer crashes.
Rootkits are applications that are used to control a computer, where the grand prize is the crashing of your machine or the theft of personal information. Rootkits can do a number of things all of which are destructive to the machine and the information which it possesses.
Logic Bombs more often than not are programs left behind by disgruntled employees to go off at a future time, event, or a specific person logs in to their account.
There are a number of things to be done in order to protect yourself and your computer, as well as your network. Keep an eye on what is happening in the IT World through internet based subscriptions (most are free), such as Information Technology, Emerging Threats, Dark Reading, Slahdot, and the list goes on and on. Just complete a search on lists for Trojan Horses, Viruses, Worms, Rootkits, Logic Bombs, or Spyware and you will find a plethora of information as to what exactly is out there. Regardless if it was created for a good reason, there is always someone who will use it for ill purposes. Unfortunately it is inherent in man to do so! Consider hacking, for instance…there are ethical hackers (White Hat Hackers – the proverbial good guys) and there are those with unethical intentions (the Black Hat Hackers – the bad guys always wore black hats in the old westerns.)
The internet is a great tool, just like a computer, a Smartphone, a tablet, or even a virus for that matter. They are tools in an arsenal to allow you to accomplish specific tasks. This shows the beauty of the Smartphone as a tool, you can set up all of your subscriptions on the device and many of which have applications available. A virus can be a tool to see if your anti-virus software is working properly; your security software is either working properly and you are safe, or IT ISN’T!
Perhaps some countermeasures will be next, we shall see. Until the next time…
Resources: http://www.ethicalhacker.net/, https://www.eff.org/, http://slashdot.org/, http://www.bitpipe.com/, http://it.toolbox.com/topics/, http://www.cnet.com/, http://www.infotoday.com/, http://www.darkreading.com/, http://www.secureidnews.com/, http://www.cybersecurityhome.com/
Beaver, K. (2004). Hacking For Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Ciampa, M. (2009). Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals. Boston, MA: Course Technology.