COMPUTER SECURITY REVIEW
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How To Protect Against Malicious Websites

Kaspersky Lab has published a factual and hepful article addressing the current cybercrime trends and evolution, which we thought our readers could use as a reference.

It is packed with essential recommendations, but don't be tempted to keep it as a reading for sleepless nights. It doesn't make for a pretty picture!

In its article, Costin Raiu, Chief Security Expert, KasperskyLab EEMEA, analyzes both the economics and technical drivers behind the phenomenon and what we, Internet users should keep in mind when browsing the Net.

Here are the essential points to take home.

Over the past three years, the number of otherwise benign websites that get infected with malware has grown at an alarming rate. There are now over a hundred times more infected websites on the Internet than three years ago. High profile, high traffic websites are a valuable commodity for cybercriminals, as the pool of potential victims that can be infected via such websites will be larger than usual.

For Internet users, there are several factors which increase the risk of falling victim to websites booby-trapped with malicious code. These include the use of pirated software, failure to install security patches, failure to run a security solution, and a general lack of awareness/ knowledge of Internet threats.

Pirated software plays a major role in computers becoming infected. Pirate copies of Microsoft Windows generally will not update themselves automatically with the latest security patches, meaning they are wide open for newly identified vulnerabilities to be exploited.

Additionally, older versions of Internet Explorer (still the most widely used browser) are vulnerable to countless exploits. Typically, any malicious website will be able to exploit an unpatched Internet Explorer 6.0. Because of this, it's extremely important to avoid using pirate software, especially pirate copies of Windows.

Another risk factor is failure to install a security solution. Even if the system itself is up to date, it could be infected via 0-day vulnerabilities in third party software. Security solutions are usually updated far more quickly than software patches are produced, and provide a much-needed layer of protection during the vulnerability window.

While patching is important in helping keep computers secure, the 'human factor' also plays a role. For instance, a user might try to watch a 'funny clip' s/he's downloaded from the Internet – which turns out to be malware. Some websites will actually attempt to use this trick if exploits fail to infect the system. This example shows why users need to be aware of Internet threats, and particularly those associated with Web 2.0 social networks, which have recently been increasingly targeted by cybercriminals.

Below are a few points on how to protect against attacks:

  • Don't download pirate software
  • Keep all software up-to-date, including the operating system, web browsers, PDF readers, music players and so on.
  • Install and use a security solution such as Kaspersky Internet Security 2010
  • Encourage employees to spend a few hours every month visiting security related websites such as www.viruslist.com, where they can learn about the dangers of the Internet and how to stay protected.

Finally, remember that prevention is always better than cure, and take appropriate steps to secure your systems.

You can read the full article Browsing malicious websites, from here

Source: Viruslist

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