Cyberspace, like water, can be deceptively calm. But you know “they” are waiting, swimming beneath the surface like a school of piranha, poised to take that first bite.
What is waiting? Malware. Specifically, billions of pieces of malware. And they are eager to start a feeding frenzy over your personal information.
According to Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report, 317 million new pieces of malware were created in 2014. That means nearly one million new malware threats are released “into the wild” each day – and that number is increasing.
Also on the rise is phishing. The Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that “a campaign of 10 emails yields a greater than 90% chance that at least one person will become the criminal’s prey.” All it takes is just one click.
Here are a few of the most malicious attacks that you should watch out for:
Threats like Cryptowall, Cryptolocker and Troldesh have forced victims to pay in order to get control of their files back.
Malicious tool kits used to exploit security holes, they are thought to be responsible for the majority of malware infections. Notable exploit kits include Blackhole, Nuclear and RIG.
New on the scene, Dyerza and Dridex. Vawtrak, another nasty Trojan, steals login credentials after gaining access to a victim’s bank account.
Duqu 2.0 is one of the most sophisticated pieces of malware to date – a cyberespionage tool that was even able to worm its way into Kaspersky Labs.
PoS (Point-of-Sale) Malware
If you use credit card or debit card, you can fall victim to malware such as Punkey, Backoff and Poseidon.
When you take a look at the numbers, it may feel like you are fighting a losing battle. But there several basic things that you can do to help reduce the risk of being a malware victim.
1. Patch your systems – According to the Verizon report, 99% of vulnerability exploits occur more than a year after the vulnerability was disclosed.
2. Anti-virus, anti-spam and firewalls – Although there are rumors that anti-virus solutions may soon become extinct, the technology is always evolving. Anti-virus software alone can’t do it – but it should be part of your overall defensive strategy.
3. Limit privileges – All it takes is one click. Reducing the “playing field” goes a long way.
4. Security awareness training – All it takes is one click. Education and awareness are the strongest weapons in your arsenal when it comes to protecting and defending against malicious software attacks.
When it comes to malware, use a little common sense – think before you click. Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email. Always hover over links to make sure where they are taking you. And if an offer is too good to be true – it usually is.
By paying attention to your cyber-surroundings, you should be able to stear clear of the malware feeding frenzy, making it safe to go back into the water again.