Malware and Spyware are not new and have in fact been around for several years. These kinds of software are starting to be seriously addressed by anti-virus companies but they cannot keep up. Most users are infected by Malware and Spyware through one of five methods of transmission:
- Website visits (just by visiting some sites you can become infected without realizing it)
- USB and External Hard Drive Sharing (plug an infected storage device into another PC and the potential exists for transmission)
- Bundled Software (often aimed at providing a service these open the door for other infections)
- Pop Up ads (advertisements spawned by websites and bundled software designed to trick you into installing a program)
- P2P File Sharing (e-mule, bittorrent, utorrent, etc.)
You hate it because it slows your computer down, it often costs you money to fix, and sometimes you lose your pictures, files, and data. Your computer is a very personal and you feel violated. The problem is you are not really sure how or when this occurred and you feel powerless to prevent it. It’s often embarrassing to admit that the violation occurred at all. I mean after all spyware, malware, and viruses all come from browsing the internet web sites or opening e-mails you shouldn’t right?
Now let’s talk about the facts and the power you have over your PC without spending your hard earned cash on needless software. Isn’t it time to slam the door in the face of this unwanted stuff?
TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
The price tag on your PC does not account for all of the costs involved in owning that computer over its lifetime in your possession. Spyware, viruses, and Malware account for a major portion of total cost of ownership of a computer weather it’s an Apple or a PC. Losses by small, medium, and large businesses account for billions of dollars each year in the US alone. Among the most targeted environments are educational facilites which tend to have much more lax policies on computer use.
Over its lifetime a computer may need to be re-installed many times usually due to one of the above malady’s. Combating the threats of Spyware, Malware, and Viruses is big business and has led to a market full of professionals and software all dedicated to the removal and prevention of these problems. As we mentioned though, It is big business, and big business usually means big money. The cost for encountering one of these problems can often be more than the original purchase price of your computer, not to mention the loss of time and your data. One of the most often asked questions that an IT professional will receive in the line of work is: “What can I do to prevent a (Virus, Spyware, Malware) infection? The answer: Nothing. That’s right, nothing. It is a matter of time before you will likely run into one of these bugs. Now all hope is not lost . . While there is nothing that you can do to totally PREVENT such a problem, there are several simple things you can do to radically reduce the threat these bugs pose and to squash them when and if they do pop up. This short tutorial will give you all the information and basic tools you need to arm yourself against such problems. Spending 30 minutes with this guide can save your company thousands of dollars or put that cash back into your pocket instead of your local computer tech.
Porn and e-mail are not the root of all evil, although it probably comes in a close second. In fact viruses, malware, and spyware have actually given porn a bad name. These infections occur most often through porn related websites due to the poor administration by the webmaster of the website server. The fact of the matter is that a well updated and patched website despite the content can be as safe as MSN and Google. So why do porn websites get infected so often? The answer, they are a target due to the large traffic they receive.
A hacker wants to infect as many PC’s as possible in the shortest period of time because he/she know that their infection will be tracked down and eliminated eventually. Since the larger sites usually have well maintained servers and are continually patched and monitored they are thus much more difficult to penetrate and infect. They still need to infect website servers that receive a lot of traffic so the next best target has been porn related servers for years. Typically the administration and maintenance has been less than optimal on such servers and thus they are easy targets.
In the end the potential for infection is equal on all servers that are not well maintained and monitored. Ultimately porn websites continue to be a high risk as do many United States, Russian, Brazilian, and Chinese websites due to the large numbers of infected servers and websites in each. Much of the malware and spyware in circulation today stems from Chinese, Taiwanese, Brazilian, and Russian creators. The fact that the US comes in second place in most infected PC’s is due to the large number of online PC’s in the US and the relatively low technical level of expertise of the standard US user. Coming in first place in most infected computers is as expected China with over 1,095,000 confirmed infected PC’s. Remember, these are confirmed infections. Experts argue that the actual infected number could be 2 to 3 times as great if that gives you any idea of the number of actual infected computers that exists.
Facts and Figures:
So we told you that most of the malware and spyware comes from porn as well as US, European,Chinese and Russian websites but is it true? You bet it is… and these country domains are on the rise for spam in addition to all of the other unwanted digital nastiness out there.
Here is a quote from a recent INC. Magazine article on the subject:
In the last three months of 2009, about 1,095,000 computers in China were hacked, and 1,057,000 in the United States – this on top of the 10 million or so machines already infected in each country. An estimated $1 trillion in intellectual property was stolen worldwide in 2008 through hacking, McAfee estimated.
- Panda Internet Security places 19.62% of all PC’s in China/Taiwan as infected with viruses and other malicious software.
- Panda Internet Security places 10.65% of all PC’s in Brazil infected with the majority of those infections being Trojans and Adware.
- The Collaborative Malware Collection and Sensing Organization shows a huge number of attacks emanating from Europe and Taiwan
- Trend Micro Global Malware Map shows Europe, China, Brazil, and Taiwan as hotbeds of Malware Activity.
Malware and Spyware origins by country: