Feb 252012
we need to take security seriously on the web

I usually don’t pay much attention to stories about Apple malware given that most hysterical stories about Mac viruses are written by charlatans spruiking third rate security products.

The story of the Flashback Trojan is an interesting one though, not because the malware is particularly original or that it comes with the usual hysterical claim of being part of the coming wave of viruses that will wipe the smug smiles off Mac users’ facers.

Flashback’s interesting because it combines all the tactics of a modern computer virus or malware, bringing together unpatched vulnerabilities and some social engineering with the intention of stealing user passwords.

These are risks regardless of what type of computer, smartphone or tablet you use. It illustrates how the security risks have moved on since the first epidemic of Windows computer viruses just before the beginning of the century.

Similarly, the motivation for writing viruses and malware has evolved. Where it was once an intellectual exercise for bored, highly skilled young code cutters, today it’s a lucrative criminal enterprise aimed at getting access to victim’s bank accounts and other assets.

Which is the reason why it’s a good idea to have different passwords for various online services – no more using the same password for your online banking, Minecraft and Facebook accounts.

Having the latest security patches installed is also important, particularly with third party products like Adobe Flash, Java or Microsoft Office, so don’t ignore those warnings as a caller to one of my radio slots boasted.

We also need to keep our wits about us online and watch out for the sneaky tricks used to fool us into opening malware, it’s a jungle out here on the web.

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