While it may be tempting to think your PC is safe and that computer nasties are a thing of the past, think again. Malicious attacks have evolved beyond previous attacks from virus writers who wanted to show off their skills and get caught for self publicity.
According to Raimund Genes, CTO of Trend Micro, the threat landscape has changed to more targeted, varied threats developed mainly for commercial reasons. “Professional malware writers today don´t want to make a big fuss. The worst that could happen to them is for their malware to get noticed and for people to then update their systems and protect themselves”, Raimund points out.
This he believes is why we are no longer seeing big virus outbreaks anymore. In fact the last real computer virus outbreak was in 1999 with ´Melissa´. This was the last virus attached to a host program while all following outbreaks, such as the ILOVEYOU and Sasser outbreaks, were caused by worms.
According to recent stats provided by Trend Micro´s Labs, there is now more malware on PCs than previously and this number is rising steadily. Since these new blended threats no longer pop up and visibly shut systems down, users are no longer aware of infections. Spam is on the rise and 70-80% of spam is now sent by bots, according to Raimund Genes. These bots are mainly installed on home users´ PCs and can these PC´s into zombies; and once a zombie, the PC can then be used for a variety of criminal purposes, all of which pose serious risks to the infected user as well as the internet community. Activities such as keylogging for example are of special interest to attackers for financial gains and identity theft.
In short, it could not only be your computer which is at risk but your wallet, too.
“Internet commerce, businesses dependent on electronic trading and commerce as well as end users need to be on their guard and keep their systems updated against vulnerabilities at all times”, comments Raimund Genes.