Internet security threats have been a problem for computer users for some time now. Unfortunately, this problem just keeps getting bigger as the number of malicious attacks continues to grow and their execution techniques evolve with every new malware. Cyber criminals are capable of evading detection, infiltrating networks, scamming users through social media and even infecting other devices like smartphones and tablets. The quantity of malicious applications has increased 26% in 2014 with 317 million of new threats created in total. Needless to say, computer users need to be especially careful in order to keep their system safe and protected from these harmful parasites.
source: Internet Security Threat Report 2015 Symantec
The cyber crooks often target companies in order to access their networks. In 2014 the attackers tricked companies into infecting themselves with fake updates that were actually Trojans. They created the fake updates for various applications and then simply waited for users to download these updates. Once the user had acquired the so-called update, the criminals were granted with access to the company network. A total number of these spear-phishing attacks has increased by 8%. The attackers also used stolen email addresses to spear-phish the other workers, took advantage of corporate management procedures and tools to move the gathered data around the network before stealing it and even built custom attack programs that disguised the illegal activities.
The number of various ransomware infections also increased in 2014. Digital extortion grew 113%, while crypto-ransomware in particular has increased by more than 4000%. Regular ransomware programs infect computers, lock them and claim that it was done because of the illegal actions of the computer user and that the message presented on the screen comes from a government facility. Crypto-ransomware, on the other hand, encrypts your data files and demands money for them without pretending to be anything other than what it actually is. The ransomware usually tries to extort money from computer users by promising that once they make the payment, they will regain access to their files. This type of malware is now also targeting smart phones.
There is no question that you need to be one step ahead of the cyber criminals. You can do that by following certain tips. For businesses it is advised to use the latest threat intelligence solutions that can help with identifying indicators of compromise quickly and efficiently. It is also important to implement a strong multi-layered endpoint security and be prepared for incident management. Consumers, on the other hand, should always use strong passwords for their accounts and devices and update them regularly. They should also be careful with social networking websites and not click on all emails and instant messages, especially if they come from unknown senders. Most importantly, however, users should have reliable anti-malware installed on their computers, which will keep their PCs clean and safe.