Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Millions with Malwares

I just read an article saying that according to a research by Google, approximately 10 percent of all webpages published on the internet contain malwares. The research sampled about 4.5 million pages and found that 450,000 of them have scripts and codes that contain spywares, viruses and Trojans.

Just last week while traveling with my boss, we experienced an annoying worm called ttms that keeps popping up and disabling internet connection as well as firefox. My boss got this from an internet café while using his removable flash drive. My boss never visits any suspicious sites. In fact when I asked him, he said he only visited The Economist, Time Magazine, Newsweek and The New York Times websites and checked his Yahoo and Google emails.

The ttms worm disabled firefox but my boss’ internet explorer was still working. His anti virus could not remove the malware and while troubleshooting his problem over the phone, I found from my research that the virus could be removed manually by tweaking the registry. But I was too scared to dictate to him the manual removal because he might destroy his whole system.

What I did was led him to an online virus and spyware scanner. This online scanner is very neat and is totally free. One can have a choice of the top anti-virus companies like Trend Micro, Norton and Symantec. We chose semantic and the problem was fixed pronto!

After that, I told my boss to be very careful with what to click even on famous and legitimate websites. Some malwares are attached to advertising banners. I also told him to frequently update his antivirus software and even told him to have his settings to frequently look for updates.

Just last night, I was trying to check the balance of my debit card. To my horror, the website led to me to a page which said that my account does not exists. I immediately emailed their customer service and was replied by a machine that my problem will be addressed the following day during office hours. I could not sleep and kept on logging in until at my tenth or so attempt, I was finally able to log in using the same information I had been using for the last five years! Today, I’m thinking of going to the bank and personally reporting the problem.

According to Google, even big, famous and legitimates sites that have been spending millions of dollars on its infrastructures are not spared from malwares. I can’t imagine how much more malware exists in the dark corners of the internet of webpages maintained by the anonymous.

I know that research against malwares have been going on from time immemorial and will continue to be as long as the internet exists. But malicious techies are also not to be out witted. This is like a war between good and evil – it will never be end. The only thing that we can do is take necessary precautions.

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