MALWARE AWARENESS. Prepared for: ABC27 News

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1 MALWARE AWARENESS Prepared for: ABC27 News

2 Table of Contents What Is Malware?... 3 Statistics... 3 How Can Malware Infect My Computer? Pop Ups... 4 Websites... 4 Social Networking... 4 Software... 5 Removable Storage Media... 5 Mobile Devices... 5 How Can It Be Prevented?... 6 Use Anti Malware / Anti Virus Prevention and Removal Software.. 6 Update Operating System (OS) and Other Software... 6 Use a Firewall... 7 Protect the Administrator Account... 7 Practice and Web Browsing Safety... 7 Data Backup and Protection... 7 What Should I Do If I Suspect My Computer Is Infected?... 8 Traditional Computers (Mac OS X, Windows XP/Vista/7)... 8 Mobile Devices (Android, BlackBerry, ios)... 9 Removable Storage Media (CD/DVD, USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)... 9 Reference About INA ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 2 of 10

3 What Is Malware? Malware is a term used to describe all types of malicious software. Malicious software includes, but is not limited to, the following: Spyware Trojans Viruses Worms Malware is most often designed to infiltrate systems and the information stored on them for criminal, commercial and destructive purposes. Some malware can be used to steal information such as credit card numbers, identities, or sensitive business information from the computer it infects. Additionally, malware may take over your computer and use it for attacking other systems. Certain malware may have the sole directive of destroying or corrupting data on your computer. Preventing malware from spreading to your computer requires at least a general understanding of malware behavior. Statistics 48% of computers are infected with malware. 1 Nearly 640,000 websites (6 million web pages) are infected with malware. 2 The majority of malware comes from website links. 3 20% of malware originates from file attachments. 3 80% of home computers are infected by snooping programs such as spyware and adware. 4 How Can Malware Infect My Computer? Hackers and nefarious criminal organizations are continually developing new and innovative ways to get malware onto your computer or related device. Understanding some of the common ways in which malware is spread and the preventative measures available are vital to mitigating risk. Pop Ups Websites Social Networking Software Removable Storage Media Mobile Devices ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 3 of 10

4 Malware is often present in attachments, or can be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer when you click on hyperlinks (which may lead to malicious websites) within s. Pop Ups Be suspicious of all attachments including those sent from friends or co workers. Scan all attachments for malware prior to access (including opening or executing the attachment). Never open attachments or click on hyperlinks in s sent from unknown or untrusted senders. A popular tactic to spread malware is through the use of cleverly disguised popup advertisements that appear as legitimate looking alerts or messages. These pop ups range from fake anti virus alerts to free gifts from suspicious websites. Websites Never buy software in response to unexpected pop up messages or s. Be especially wary of hoax adverts that claim to have scanned your computer and detected malware. Malware can be inadvertently downloaded from websites (such as through malicious advertisements), or automatically downloaded when visiting some websites. Be suspicious of requests to download applications or to install Add Ons, such as suspicious ActiveX components or strange multimedia players. Never download or install software from unknown or untrusted websites. Social Networking Malware is increasingly spread through social networking sites by installing nefarious third party add on applications or by clicking on hyperlinks in ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 4 of 10

5 messages. Additionally, there seem to be a false sense of security when using these sites, so you must remain alert at all times. Software Only install third party social networking applications that are well known and trusted. Never click on hyperlinks in messages from unknown or untrusted contacts, and avoid clicking on message hyperlinks sent from trusted contacts unless you are certain where it will lead you. Malware located in legitimate looking software is one of the most common ways it is spread. For instance, Peer to Peer (P2P) software, cracked, and pirated software (e.g., warez ) often facilitate the spread of malware. Never install unauthorized, unlicensed or unapproved software on your computer. Be wary of all free software. Ensure you read and understand the licensing terms and privacy policies before installing such software on your computer. Removable Storage Media Malware can be easily spread through the shared use of removable storage media such as CD/DVD and USB drives. Do not insert untrusted removable storage media into your computer. Always scan files stored on shared removable storage media for malware before copying or opening them. Mobile Devices Originally unheard of, malware has been known to spread through mobile devices such as cell phones (both feature phones and smartphones), tablet devices, and portable multimedia players. As mobile devices are now essentially handheld computers, the threat of malware on these devices has greatly increased. ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 5 of 10

6 Never install unverified or unsigned software on your mobile device. Be alert of unsolicited text or other message requests for software installs or links to unknown or untrusted locations. How Can It Be Prevented? Malware is a very real and constant threat to the security of information. Consequently, specific security controls can be put in place to help protect against malware. The following controls will help prevent malware from gaining a foothold onto your computer. Use Anti Malware / Anti Virus Prevention and Removal software Update operating system (OS) and other software Use a firewall Protect the administrator account Practice and web browsing safety Data backup and protection Use Anti Malware / Anti Virus Prevention and Removal Software Choose to install a reputable malware prevention and removal program and ensure it is operating properly (updating and scanning). Many reputable, free anti malware prevention programs are available, including: a. Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows) b. Malwarebytes Anti Malware (Windows) c. Sophos Anti Virus (Windows / Mac OS X) d. Avast! Mobile Security (Android) e. McAfee Mobile Security (BlackBerry) Configure the software to perform daily updates and regular (at least monthly) scans in order to keep up to date with the latest virus definitions. Scan all downloaded files, copied files or attachments for malware before accessing (typically, includes opening and executing a file). Update Operating System (OS) and Other Software Ensure your operating system is configured to automatically download and install all updates (particularly any security patches or bug fixes). ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 6 of 10

7 Regularly check that all other software, such as web browsers and word processing programs, on your computer is updated with the latest security updates. Use a Firewall Enable the default operating system firewall (Windows / Mac OS X). Ensure the firewall is configured to block all uninitiated incoming traffic. Do not simply allow every connection request try to understand what is trying to connect through the firewall and disallow anything you don t know or trust. Protect the Administrator Account Using an account other than the administrative user account for your daily computing will help prevent malware from obtaining elevated rights, or permissions, on your computer. This will help lessen the chance of a malware infection. The default user account on most operating systems usually has local administrator rights and should not be used. Instead, create or use a different user account with basic user rights. This will help prevent malware from obtaining elevated rights, or permissions, on your computer and lessen the chance of a malware infection. Practice and Web Browsing Safety Ensure you have your web browser security features, such as a pop up blocker and spam and phishing filters, turned on and only disable such features when visiting sites that you trust. Delete all spam that finds its way to your inbox. You should never reply to, or click the hyperlinks within, suspected spam or phishing s. Data Backup and Protection Regularly backup any important data to other media, such as to CD/DVD, USB flash drive, or external hard drive. This will ensure you have an extra ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 7 of 10

8 copy of your files in the event a malware infection destroys or corrupts one of your datasets. Protect your user accounts on your computer and mobile devices with passwords or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Additionally, networking equipment offering access to your computer network, such as a wireless router, should be configured with a password or equivalent security (including encryption of the wireless connection). What Should I Do If I Suspect My Computer Is Infected? It is highly recommended you monitor your computer for unusual or irregular behavior. Taking immediate steps to remedy any issue will increase your chance of successful mitigation. Perform the steps detailed below (in order) to check, identify, and remove malware infections. Seek professional IT assistance if your computer continues to operate in an unusual manner. Cease sensitive activities (online banking, online shopping) Update your anti malware / anti virus software Disconnect from all networks Perform a malware scan Check removable media connected to the device Traditional Computers (Mac OS X, Windows XP/Vista/7) 1. Cease any further activities that involve sensitive information (e.g., online shopping or banking). 2. Update your anti malware, anti virus or other malware prevention and removal software with the latest definitions. Certain malware infections may prevent updates to such software at this time. 3. Physically disconnect your computer from all networks (i.e., unplug the network cable or wireless card, if possible). 4. Perform a malware scan of your computer using your installed anti malware, anti virus, or other malware prevention and removal software. If malware is detected, delete or clean the files flagged as malicious. 5. Restart the computer. 6. Perform steps 4 and 5 until no additional malware is detected. 7. Physically reconnect to your network (i.e., place the network cable or wireless card in its original position, if possible). ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 8 of 10

9 Mobile Devices (Android, BlackBerry, ios) 1. Cease any further activities that involve sensitive information (e.g., online shopping or banking). 2. Update your anti malware, anti virus or other malware prevention and removal software with the latest definitions. Certain malware infections may prevent updates to such software at this time. 3. Physically disconnect your device from all other devices (i.e., unplug the data cable if attached to a computer or related device). Additionally, disable all wireless signals (such as cellular, wireless, and Bluetooth) for the device through the device settings, if possible. 4. Perform a malware scan of your device using your installed anti malware, anti virus, or other malware prevention and removal software. If malware is detected, delete or clean the files flagged as malicious. 5. Restart the device. 6. Perform steps 4 and 5 until no additional malware is detected. 7. Enable the wireless signals (such as cellular, wireless, and Bluetooth) previously disabled in step C for the device through the device settings, if possible. Removable Storage Media (CD/DVD, USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive) 1. Cease any further activities that involve sensitive information (e.g., online shopping or banking). 2. Update your anti malware, anti virus or other malware prevention and removal software with the latest definitions. This step should occur on a host computer, or one that is considered free of any malicious software, as you will be using it to perform the malware scan(s) of the infected removable storage media. 3. Physically disconnect your device from all other devices (i.e., unplug the data cable if attached to a computer or related device). Additionally, disable all wireless signals (such as cellular, wireless, and Bluetooth) for the device through the device settings, if possible. 4. Perform a malware scan of your removable storage media using your installed anti malware, anti virus, or other malware prevention and removal software on the host computer. If malware is detected, delete or clean the files flagged as malicious. If the files flagged as malicious cannot be ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 9 of 10

10 removed, you may need to reformat (USB flash drive or external hard drive) or destroy (CD/DVD) the device. Please note the act of reformatting or destroying removable storage media will result in a total loss of any data stored on said media. Reference 1 ( 2 ( q309 malware data and dasient.html) 3 ( q309 malware data and dasient.html) 4 ( _think.html) About INA Information Network Associates, Inc. (INA); an investigative and corporate consulting firm headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. INA offers a variety of services for the private, corporate and government sectors including digital forensics, intelligence risk mitigation internal investigations, forensic accounting, and physical security consulting. To learn more about INA visit our website at inc.com North Front Street Harrisburg, PA inc.com inc.com ABC27 NEWS MALWARE AWARENESS Page 10 of 10

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