Saturday, May 22, 2010

Defend Yourself From Online Attacks - It's way too hard for amateurs


The New York Times had a good article on the latest defensive techniques to reduce risks of online threats. Click here. The basics:

1. Protect the Browser
The most direct line of attack is the browser, said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Symantec Security Response. Online criminals can use programming flaws in browsers to get malware onto PCs in “drive-by” downloads without users ever noticing.

2. Get Adobe Updates
Most consumers are familiar with Adobe Reader, for PDF files, and Adobe’s Flash Player. In the last year, a virtual epidemic of attacks has exploited their flaws; almost half of all attacks now come hidden in PDF files, Mr. Weafer said. “No matter what browser you’re using,” he said, “you’re using the PDF Reader, you’re using the Adobe Flash Player.”

3. Beware Malicious Ads
An increasingly popular way to get attacks onto Web sites people trust is to slip them into advertisements, usually by duping small-time ad networks. Malvertising, as this practice is known, can exploit software vulnerabilities or dispatch deceptive pop-up messages.

4. Poisoned Search Results
Online criminals are also trying to manipulate search engines into placing malicious sites toward the top of results pages for popular keywords. According to a recent Google study, 60 percent of malicious sites that embed hot keywords try to distribute scareware to the computers of visitors.

5. Antisocial Media
Attackers also use e-mail, instant messaging, blog comments and social networks like Facebook and Twitter to induce people to visit their sites. It’s best to accept “friend” requests only from people you know, and to guard your passwords. Phishers are trying to filch login information so they can infiltrate accounts, impersonate you to try to scam others out of money and gather personal information about you and your friends.

These are good tips and I recommend the full Times article because it is very informative. However, all of this stuff is the equivalent of us saying "there is a big crime spree out there with robberies, rapes, arson, carjackings, kidnappings, ransom, and physical attacks so here is what we want YOU as an individual to do: 1. Get and carry a gun; 2. Don't ever go out at night; 3. Put steel bars and steel doors on your home; 4. Wear a bullet proof vest; 5. Drive an armored limousine."

Really!

Isn't the response to this out of control crime spree to add cops, beef up law enforcement, toughen the laws, and improve the security for the entire community? Individual defense is kinda like telling people in London during WW II to build a bomb shelter for their home instead of taking out the Nazis! See my London Hitler image at start of blog!
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