Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Jnan Dash, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Machine Learning , Agile Computing

Cloud Security: Article

The Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Malware

Malware – no computer wants it but researchers estimate that the majority of computers have it

But what is malware and what makes it so particularly bad for your PC?

Malware - short for "malicious software," malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system.

Below is a list of the top ten things you may not, but should, know about malware. The list also gives a few examples of particularly nasty pieces of malware, which will make you think twice about clicking on those "scandalous photos or attachments" in the future.

  1. A virus and malware is not the same thing - computer viruses are small programs or scripts that can negatively affect the health of your computer. These programs can create files, move files, erase files, consume your computer's memory, and cause your computer not to function correctly. Some viruses can duplicate themselves, attach themselves to programs, and travel across networks.
  2. New variants and mutations of malware are being released at easily double the speed that software is built to remove them.
  3. Myth - you can't catch something merely by visiting a website. Reality - a drive-by is program that is automatically installed in your computer by merely visiting a website, without having to explicitly click on a link on the page. Typically, they are deployed by exploiting flaws in the browser and operating system code. Keep your browser up to date.
  4. As of May 2013, there were approximately 22,950,378 viruses and pieces of malware being detected each day. This is increased by over 5 million since April 2012 so it looks like the problem is getting worse, not better.
  5. Beware of packages that come from strangers - one of the top social engineering tactics used by the bad guys in email is to send you a notice that you've received a package. If you don't recognize the sender, you may want to delete the email or copy down the reference number, if there is one, go to the site and then enter it. In general, if you receive an email from a name you don't recognize, be wary of opening any attachments.
  6. Beware clicking on links that offer to take you to videos of recent "disasters" - most recently, spammers took advantage of the attention garnered by the Boston Marathon bombing and the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and used two major botnets to inundate users with messages that purport to link to videos of the tragedies. People who followed the link had several pieces of malware installed on their laptops.
  7. As of January 2013, there were over 350,000 pieces of malware targeting the Android operating system and experts have estimated they expect it to reach 1 million by 2013.
  8. Another particularly nasty piece of malware was the Moneypack scam. The malware would appear on user's computer screens pretending to be an official FBI alert, telling users that their computer is blocked due to Copyright and Related Rights Law violation. The alert attempted to trick users into believing that they have illegally visited or distributed copyrighted content such as videos, music, and software. The user's system is then completely locked down and they are told that services will only be available after a $200 fine is paid. The fine is of course going to the cyber-crime, not the FBI.
  9. A renowned phishing page called Loyphish disguises itself as a legitimate banking webpage and attempts to trick users into filling in their confidential banking information into an online form. Unsuspecting victims thought they were submitting their information confidentially to the bank but they were actually submitting their information to a cyber criminal.
  10. The amount of Mac-specific malware remains fairly small in comparison with other platforms. However, the figure is currently on the rise and it is only going to get worse. Hackers originally targeted Windows because the huge number of users, however, as Mac regains its share of the market, things are likely to change. In May 2013 researchers uncovered the Hangover malware which was involved in high-profile attacks on governments. Researchers predicted the attack had been going on for over three years and that it was thought to be the act of a private-sector group.

As has been shown, malware comes in all shapes and sizes and is often full of lots of nasty surprises. It is therefore recommended that if you feel suspicious about something online, the best option is to steer well clear of it.

Installing a good antivirus is also advised but users should not solely rely on this for protection - it is up to them as well.

After all, your first line of defence is always yourself.

More Stories By Brian Laing

Brian Laing, author of "APT for Dummies," is vice president of AhnLab, where he directs the US operations of this internationally known security and software leader. He possesses a distinct mixture of technology, business and creative expertise drawing on more than 15 years of industry experience. Companies have benefited not only from his “big picture” vision, but also from his understanding of the interconnected pathways that accompany it. Before joining AhnLab, Brian founded Hive Media where he served as CEO. He previously co-founded RedSeal Systems, and conceived the overall design / features of the product. He was also founder and CEO of self-funded Blade Software, who released the industry’s first commercial IPS/FW testing tool.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.