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Computer Threats and Attacks

Computer Threats

Malware: is a portmanteau from the words Malicious and Software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. The term "computer virus" is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of malware, including true viruses.

A VIRUS can only spread from one computer to another (in some form of executable code) when its host is taken to the target computer; for instance because a user sent it over a network or the Internet, or carried it on a removable medium such as a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB drive. Viruses can increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by another computer.

A Computer Worm is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or devour files on a targeted computer.

The Trojan horse, also known as trojan, in the context of computing and software, describes a class of computer threats (malware) that appears to perform a desirable function but in fact performs undisclosed malicious functions that allow unauthorized access to the host machine, giving them the ability to save their files on the user's computer or even watch the user's screen and control the computer.

Spyware is computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to collect information about a user, their computer or browsing habits without the user's informed consent.

Backdoor : is a method of bypassing normal authentication procedures. Once a system has been compromised (by one of the above methods, or in some other way), There is possibility of one or more backdoors may be installed, in order. Backdoors may also be installed prior to malicious software, to allow attackers entry.

How to fix them

  • Always use Antivirus, Anti Spam and Anti Spyware Products
  • Update your Antivirus, Anti Spyware products regularly and scan your computer at least twice a week after updating the products
  • Always use default firewall in your windows machine and linux machines to control communications
  • Do not download any applications, software from unknown service
  • If needed, Scan with latest updated Antivirus and products before installing such applications

Denial-of-Service

A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person or persons to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely.

Some of the attacks will control your antivirus, firewall programs so that you may not scan and find the viruses and other malware. The attackers trying to deny to use your own services in your computer.

How to fix them

  • Enable Desktop Firewall options to control the activity of DoS attacks
  • Always use Antivirus, Anti Spam and Anti Spyware Products
  • Update your Antivirus, Anti Spyware products regularly and scan your computer at least twice a week after updating the products
  • Do not download any applications, software from unknown service
  • If needed, Scan with latest updated Antivirus and products before installing such applications

Man-In the Middle Attack

Intruders will frequently use compromised computers as launching pads for attacking other systems. An example of this is how distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tools are used. The intruders install an "agent" (frequently through a Trojan horse program) that runs on the compromised computer awaiting further instructions. Then, when a number of agents are running on different computers, a single "handler" can instruct all of them to launch a denial-of-service attack on another system. Thus, the end target of the attack is not your own computer, but someone else’s -- your computer is just a convenient tool in a larger attack.

How to fix them

  • Always use Antivirus, Anti Spam and Anti Spyware Products
  • Update your Antivirus, Anti Spyware products regularly and scan your computer at least twice a week after updating the products
  • Always use default firewall in your windows machine and linux machines to control communications
  • Do not download any applications, software from unknown service
  • If needed, Scan with latest updated Antivirus and products before installing such applications

Cyberstalking

What is Cyberstaking

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone. It has been defined as the use of information and communications technology, particularly the Internet, by an individual or group of individuals, to harass another individual, group of individuals, or organization.

The behavior includes false accusations, monitoring, the transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and gathering information for harassment purposes. The harassment must be such that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient another reasonable distress.

Cyberstalking is a relatively new phenomenon. With the decreasing expense and thereby increased availability of computers and online services, more individuals are purchasing computers and "logging onto" the Internet, making another form of communication vulnerable to abuse by stalkers.

Cyberstalkers target their victims through chat rooms, message boards, discussion forums, and e-mail. Cyberstalking takes many forms such as: threatening or obscene e-mail; spamming (in which a stalker sends a victim a multitude of junk e-mail); live chat harassment or flaming (online verbal abuse); leaving improper messages on message boards or in guest books; sending electronic viruses; sending unsolicited e-mail; tracing another person's computer and Internet activity, and electronic identity theft.

Similar to stalking off-line, online stalking can be a terrifying experience for victims, placing them at risk of psychological trauma, and possible physical harm. Many cyberstalking situations do evolve into off-line stalking, and a victim may experience abusive and excessive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing, and physical assault.

How to fix them?

  • Never reveal your personal information such as entire name, address, phone number, bank account and credit card numbers
  • Do not reply to anything else the harasser says. No replies to emails, taunts or lies said about you
  • Tell the person harassing you in straight forward terms, "Leave me alone, stop harassing me. Do not contact me again." If you are in IM or chat, log off immediately and stay off-line for at least 24 hours
  • Do not fill all details/fields on the online forms. If you have to provide a phone number, Please provide your spouse number and also avoid entering information such as your gender, marital status, age, etc.
  • Create a separate mail ID for such activity and use your primary mail ID for known persons
  • In Instant messages, Chat, select your screen name carefully to avoid using the name of your gender, original name and other details like college, school, or office as your screen name.
  • If any unsolicited e-mails, never reply back and report to your local crime police station
  • If any  problem exist in IM/Chat, Completely change your online identification

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime used to refer to fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else in order to steal money or get other benefits. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when he or she is held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. In many countries specific laws make it a crime to use another person's identity for personal gain.

Identity theft is somewhat different from identity fraud, which is related to the usage of a 'false identity' to commit fraud. Identity theft means impersonating a real person.

Mobile Security

Accessing Internet through Mobile PC or Mobiles for official purposes, remote access to all business applications may put personal or organizational information at risk

Exposure of Critical Information

  • Small amounts of wireless signal can travel significant distance and its possible to peep in to these signals using a wireless sniffer. A wireless intruder could expose critical information.
  • If device is lost or stolen, the entire corporate intranet could be threatened if those devices are not protected by password and other user level security measures
  • Mobile Viruses can be major threat, particularly with devices that have significant computational capabilities and connectivity options like WLAN, Bluetooth etc

Voice Phishing (Vishing) is one type of attack as you may receive an e-mail or get a pre recorded voice message (From either from bank or some financial institution) informing you that a large transaction which you never performed and basically held up. The message includes a toll-free-number that you call right away to deal with the situation.

When you dial back to the toll-free-number, a voice menu prompts you to enter your card details and pin number etc and the Vishers may ask you to enter other data also such as expiration date, CVV number. If you act without thinking clearly, you might provide all of the information they ask for

How to fix them

  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and can trust.
  • Never reply to text messages from people you don’t know.
  • Make sure you know how to block others from calling your phone
  • In urgency only, use mobiles for internet and do not download any files from internet from unknown sources
  • Never respond to any  phone numbers of e-mail and voice based messages and if needed you call your bank direct number.
  • Never open attachment links in your mobiles. Instead, you type URL in browser.

Social Networking

What is Social Networking:

A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade

Social networks are fun to use, helpful for job hunting, and great for keeping in touch with friends, business contacts, and relatives.

Issues :

The other side of Social Networks is security and privacy issues are entirely treated as two different issues as security issue is a hacker gains unauthorized access to sites protected resources and the privacy issues is someone can gain access to confidential information by simply watching you type your password. But both types of breaches are often intertwined on social networks, especially since anyone who breaches a site's security network opens the door to easy access to private information belonging to any user.

The reason social network security and privacy lapses exist results simply from the astronomical amounts of information the sites process each and every day that end up making it that much easier to exploit a single flaw in the system. Features that invite user participation -- messages, invitations, photos, open platform applications, etc. -- are often the avenues used to gain access to private information

Some of the Social networking sites third party application program interface (API) which allows for easy theft of private information and it gave developers access to far more information addresses, pictures than needed to test the applications

Tips for Social Networking Sites

  • If you think that your social networking account details have been compromised or stolen, report your suspicions to the site's support team immediately.
  • Change your password frequently, and avoid clicking links that purport to send you back to the social network site. Instead, type the site's address directly into your browser (or follow a bookmark you've previously saved) to get back to your account
  • Most of the Social Networking web sites enabling users to set privacy controls for who has the ability to view the information. So try to use such facilities
  • Do not post anything which harm to your family credibility
  • Never post photographs and any other sensitive information to unknown persons in Social network sites

Cyber Harassment

Cyberstalking and cyberharassment are very similar. Most people use them interchangeably, but there is a subtle distinction, typically relating to the perpetrator’s intent and the original motivation for their behavior.

While the two situations usually involve many of the same online tactics, cyberstalking is almost always characterized by the stalker relentlessly pursuing his\her victim online and is much more likely to include some form of offline attack, as well. This offline aspect makes it a more serious situation as it can easily lead to dangerous physical contact, if the victim’s location is known

How to fix them

  • Tell a trusted adult about the bullying/harassing, and keep telling until the adult takes action.
  • Do not open or read messages by cyber bullies.
  • Discuss with family members, if it is harassment from outside. In such cases, Always Family members will support and understands you to solve the problem
  • Do not erase the messages—they may be needed to take action by the concern authorities
  • Protect yourself—never agree to meet with the person or with anyone you meet online.
  • If bullied through chat or instant messaging, the “bully” can often be blocked.
  • If you are threatened with harm, inform the local cyber crime police

To know about how to Clean/remove the Virus Manually Click here

Source: ISEA



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