Saturday, May 29, 2021

Malware!

 

The five types of malware are:

Virus: A virus is a computer program that has been coded to replicate itself and infect a computer without the user’s knowledge. A virus spreads from computer to computer by infecting network files as well as CDs, USB drives, and other forms of removable media.
The best free anti-virus is AVG anti-virus which can be found at http://free.grisoft.com/ .

Trojan horse: Trojan horse or just Trojan is a program which looks legitimate but performs illegitimate actions such as granting full access to the intruder, installing a keylogger, disabling security software and as an invisible downloader and spywares. Spybot Search and Destroy is a free program that can find and delete Trojan horses and spywares. It can be found at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

Adware: Adware (advertising supported software) is a software bundle which automatically downloads and displays advertisements to a computer in which it is installed. Adwares can be classified as privacy invading software. It is seen as a way to recover development costs by software developers. The best program to combat adwares is Ad-Aware 2007 and it can be downloaded at http://www.lavasoftusa.com/products/ad_aware_free.php

Rootkit: A rootkit is a program which has been coded to take complete (or root) control of the system without the user’s knowledge. Rootkits take full control of the operating system and therefore cannot usually be removed by anti-virus software. Rootkits usually modify the boot sector of the operating system or disguise as drivers and load during boot up. As a result, it is usually hard to delete them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Malware Overview

 

Do you know what goes on under the hood of your car? Do you know the solution for a warning light on the dash? Do you know what’s wrong with the car if it starts making strange noises or loses power?

Those same questions can be asked about your computer.

Computers can have many of the same problems as cars. Engine problems can cause cars to lose power, just like a large program can take up too much of the computer for anything else to run. Where an engine could “throw a rod” or “break a timing chain,” computers can mysteriously reboot or die with the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death.”

We expect that our car will bog down sometimes. You can’t expect a car to perform as well when pulling a two-ton trailer up a five degree hill. Likewise, when a computer gets bogged down with a big project, you would expect it to respond a little slower.

What you don’t expect is for either the car or the computer to bog down or die when we’re not pushing so hard.

One of the things that “Malware” can do is exactly that. It forces the computer to work harder, taking power away from our programs. It would be like sneaking a dozen cinderblocks into the back of the family car right before the trip.

“Malware” is software that works without the user’s knowledge and consent. Sometimes called “badware,” it covers a wide range of programs, including computer viruses, spyware, adware, and more. Adware can bog down the computer, because it contacts websites to download fresh ads. Spyware collects data on you and the websites you visit and returns all of that data to the host website. And viruses just want to find a way to spread to other computers.

But most importantly, malware runs “under the hoood” and behind your back, so that you don’t even know that it’s there.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Firewalls and Proxies

 

In building construction, a firewall is a structure designed to contain building fires. For example, an attic crawlspace that covers the entire length of the building would allow a fire to roar from one end of the building to the other. Breaking up the crawlspace with non-flammable walls helps to slow the spread of a fire.

Network firewalls have a similar function. A firewall is a network security system, either a program or an actual device, that breaks up a network to contain viruses and hackers.

Imagine two large fish tanks side by side, separated by a wall. We want to allow the blue fish to mingle, but we need to keep the carnivorous fish on the left away from the baby fish on the right. If we opened a computer-controlled door in the wall, programmed to only allow blue fish to pass but no one else, that would be a fish tank firewall.

Network firewalls “segment” the network. Local traffic, the information that moves between the computers in that segment, doesn’t go through the firewall to the larger network outside. And information that doesn’t need to reach anyone inside the firewall is blocked out, just like the carnivorous fish in our example.

A Proxy is another network security tool. Proxies are replacements for Internet servers. When a computer requests a website from the internet, a main hub provides the IP address. A firewall can interfere with this, and declare that no one inside the firewall can surf the Internet. The Proxy is then the “official” way past the firewall.

A proxy server has a list of “authorized” websites. When the user’s computer requests the address from the Internet, the proxy checks it against the list, and if the website is approved, it authorizes the firewall to let the traffic through. If the website is not approved, then the firewall sends a message saying “you are not authorized to visit this website.”

Monday, May 3, 2021

Adware Overview

 

Adware is advertising delivered directly to your computer. Generally, a program puts ads on the screen at some regular interval. In some cases, this program can be installed without the user’s knowledge, but not always. Many programs clearly state on install that “this program is supported by advertising, and if you turn off the advertising, you also shut down the program.”

Adware tends to be a “grey area” in the malware family. Yes, it can run without the user’s knowledge, and yes, it can bog down the system (especially when the adware program goes online to retrieve new ads to display). At the same time, adware is generally more open about what it does, giving the user the choice to install the program the adware is attached to.

Adware is most often tied into Internet Explorer somehow. The ads that appear are browser windows.

When it’s installed above-board, adware is generally accepted by the internet community as a valid marketing system, even though it can include elements of spyware (ie, it tracks information, and uses that information to deliver targeted ads to the user). If one user of a system installs adware on a system, and another user is then tracked, then the program crosses the line from adware to spyware–because the second user is being tracked without their consent.

Some other forms of adware have used sneaky programming tricks to hide or cover website advertising. For example, an adware program can read an incoming website, and learn the location of a banner ad on that page. Then, the program can use that information to put an ad of it’s own in the exact same spot, hiding the legitimate ad. This deceptive use of adware is often called “stealware” because it steals the advertising space from the original website.