Keep Your Guard Up: Online Security Threats Keep Evolving

Secure Computing Corporation released their Q2 Internet Threat Report. According to their research, both spam and new zombies are down this year, but other areas are increasingly problematic. Key findings from their report:

  • The threats challenging the enterprise today are becoming a blended variety that challenge both Email and Web security. Without integrated and correlated protection between the two, the ability to stay ahead of these threats will become increasingly difficult.
  • Threats are becoming more and more sophisticated as recipients of threats are better educated on what to look for. Users are more cautious and this has lead to a rise in more cunning ways to harvest personal information without users’ apparent involvement.
  • Spammers are continuing to use pop culture and current events (elections, Olympics) to entice end users into responding or clicking on links whose sole purpose is to download malware. The excitement over seeing a video of breaking news of an earthquake in China or the new sensational photos of your favorite celebrity can occasionally encourage even the most cautious users to open what could be suspicious mail.
  • Threats are and will continue to be driven by financial motivations. No matter what the threat is, or how it is delivered, the perpetrator is almost always looking for financial gain.

Some tips to protect yourself:

  • Don’t click on pop-up messages that come when you are using web sites. Some pop-ups look like real messages (for example – you need anti-virus protection)
  • Be careful of opening email attachments
  • Ensure you have an anti-virus program to begin with, and regularly run spyware scanning software
  • Make sure your software and patches are up to date
  • Regularly backup your data so you can recover it if needed

Also don’t forget plain common sense, and remember that any personal information you put out there on the internet is findable by someone – including bad guys.
Christopher Null on Yahoo! Tech blog talks about how “Forgot your password” links is often an easy way for hackers to get in to your accounts. With so much personal information out there in social media profiles, etc., the answers to your “secret” security questions might not be so secret.

Laura Leites, Assistant Editor,

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