You have to LOVE technology today. Computers have reached lightning speeds (at least for the next few months), pictures are clearer, files are smaller and viruses are smarter…..WAIT..WHAT!!!??
It is a long standing attitude that as humans we must “Take the good with the bad”. This encompasses all areas of life, love and indeed technology. Computers have indeed become much smaller, faster more portable etc and with all of these great leaps has come the downside…malware. Malware is as Wikipedia states:
“Malware, short for malicious software, is software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software.’Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.”
The lion’s share of digital baddies were being coded by “deviants” in the basements of homes from South America to Asia for many years. Since THIS ARTICLE things have changed a bit and Romania is now seen as the world leader in the creation of malware as well as hacking and hacking tools. Make no mistake my little digits..this is big business. As THIS WHITE PAPER states:
“According to some estimates, cybercriminals who use malware to steal credit card information
and other personal data cost the global economy as much as $1 trillion dollars a
year. For individual businesses, that boils down to an average cost of $3.8 million
spent responding to, mitigating, and cleaning up after a cyber attack.4 The average
loss for customers affected by malware is estimated to be more than $1,000 per incident…”
One major issue is that because it is so profitable there are more and more coders coming onboard to load up the internet with 1′s and 0′s designed to take your computer out, steal info or lie in waiting to hold it for ransom as has been seen lately with the CryptoLocker virus . This virus is no joke!! Yes the virus can be removed but the decrypting of your files is the real issue here. The virus encrypts your files with a RSA 2048 encryption that must be unlocked with a private key. This is the hardest form of encryption to date meaning impossible ( or next to it) to break. With the release of CryptoLocker the bar has been raised and in the world of hacking this means someone is gonna attempt a Fosbury Flop to gain back the street cred ( as it were).
I am not going to insult your intelligence by telling you all the things you should do to make sure your computer is protected ie. updates, install anti-virus, don’t visit shady sites etc. What I WILL do is tell you that even if the virus is caught and removed you should have the computer checked out at least once a year by a professional with tools to make sure there is nothing else lurking below the radar. In hacking we have a term “honeypot” which is a computer set up to look like it has a bunch of important information to distract hackers. The same is true for some forms of malware in that your antivirus gets rid of one but there are more that go undetected thanks to the “sacrificial lamb” virus you so proudly cast to the fires of hell. In short be dilligent and spend the money to make sure you don’t lose all your info worth ( insert cost of all pics and documents lost here not including tears and shrieks of horror after telling your spouse or boss) to something that could have been avoided.