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How Threats Spread

I again continue my posting of information from Kaspersky concerning threats to your computer, where they come from, how to spot the signs of infection, and what to do about it.

How Threats Spread

As modern computer technology and communications tools develop, hackers have more opportunities for spreading threats. Lets take a closer look at them:

The Internet – The Internet is unique, since it is no one’s property and has no geographical borders. In many ways, this has promoted the development of web resources and the exchange of information. Today, anyone can access data on the Internet or create their own webpage. However, these very features of the worldwide web give hackers the ability to commit crimes on the Internet, and makes the hackers difficult to detect and punish.

Hackers place viruses and other malicious programs on Internet sites and disguise them as useful freeware. In addition, scripts which are run automatically when certain web pages are loaded, may perform hostile actions on your computer by modifying the system registry, retrieving your personal data without your consent, and installing malicious software.

By using network technologies, hackers can attack remote PC’s and company servers. Such attacks may result in a resource being disabled or used as part of a zombie network, and in full access being gained to a resource and any information residing on it.

Lastly, since it became possible to use credit cards and e-money through the Internet in online stores, auctions, and bank homepages, online scams have becoming increasingly common.

Intranet – Your Intranet is your internal network, specially designed for handling information within a company or a home network. An Intranet is a unified space for storing, exchanging, and accessing information for all the computers on the network. Therefore, if any one network host is infected, other hosts run a significant risk of infection. To avoid such situations, both the network perimeter and each individual computer must be protected.

Email – Since the overwhelming majority of computers have email client programs installed, and since malicious programs exploit the contents of electronic address books, conditions are usually right for spreading malicious programs. The user of an infected host unwittingly sends infected messages out to other recipients who in turn send out new infected messages, etc. For example, it is common for infected file documents to go undetected when distributed with business information via a company’s internal email system. When this occurs, more than a handful of people are infected. It might be hundreds or thousands of company workers, together with potentially tens of thousands of subscribers.

Beyond the threat of malicious programs lies the problem of electronic junk email , or spam. Although not a direct threat to a computer, spam increases the load on email servers, eats up bandwidth, clogs up the user’s mailbox, and wastes working hours, thereby incurring financial harm.

Also, hackers have begin using mass mailing programs and social engineering methods to convince users to open emails, or click on a link to certain websites. It follows that spam filtration capabilities are valuable for several purposes: to stop junk email; to counteract new types of online scans, such as phishing; to stop the spread of malicious programs.

Removable Storage Media – Removable media (floppies, CD/DVD-ROM’s, and USB flash drives) are widely used for soring and transmitting information.

Opening a file that contains malicious code and is stored on a removable storage device can damage data stored on the local computer and spread the virus to the computer’s other drives or other computers on the network.

Tomorrow, I will cover the types of threats.

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