Security

Viruses and malware are out of this world, or at least off of it

A virus designed to steal online gaming login information recently infected the International Space Station. How long before some truly dangerous malware makes it into space?

The recent announcement that a virus made its way to the International Space Station shouldn't be surprising, given the resilience of some malware, but it is still amazing how widely some of it spreads. This was not the first virus to make it outside Earth's atmosphere, and it certainly won't be the last, but at least it wasn't something truly dangerous. The virus in question was designed to steal online gaming logon information, though if this one could make it through, it begs the question of how long it will be before something truly destructive goes into space.

Virus Found on Computer in Space Station (Information Week)

Malware is at an all-time high, totaling more blocked in July than in all of 2007 according to SaaS vendor ScanSafe. Every time you turn around, there is another phishing scam, e-mail disguised as a FedEX notification, or outlandish news headline. Of course, all these are simply cover for and ways to entice unsuspecting users into compromising their computers. Even though there are a lot of fantastic (and free) tools to keep your computers malware-free, most people do not take the time or expend the effort to protect themselves.

Malware Rockets Again (VNUNet)

BitDefender Uncovers FedEx(R) Spyware (Marketwatch)

Heads Up: Trojans and Viruses Are Out to Get You (PC World)

I have long been of the opinion that a well-trained user is unlikely to be infected by most malware, because there are some very simple things you can do to avoid it. Here is my short list:

  • Go to the source. If you see an offer that is too good to be true, a headline that is too outlandish to believe, or a warning that sets you on edge, go to a trusted source to confirm the information. If Bill Clinton really did bite the head off of a baby seal or Microsoft is really giving away money or there is a virus that can truly destroy your computer, CNN, Microsoft, Snopes, and Kaspersky are your best friends. Go to their Web sites and find the truth rather than clicking a link.
  • No links. Don't click on any links sent to you in an e-mail unless the person who sent it tells you directly. In addition, when you send a link, contact the person you sent it to and let them know that you sent it. When I want my wife to look at a Youtube video, Internet article, or cute picture, I call or text and let her know that I sent something.
  • Don't believe them. If someone you don't know is asking you for personal information, assume that they are up to no good. If you are worried that your bank really needs to confirm information, call them. If PayPal needs to communicate with you, e-mail them directly.

What would you add to this to make it a comprehensive list?

7 comments
reviewsgirl
reviewsgirl

First, whats wrong with security software for your pc? Don't you lock the front door in your house? I have just as many valuables in my PC as I do in my house. Furthermore, I know 3 people in just the last week who got the data recovery virus and these are somewhat savvy computer guys. These viruses these days are everywhere and protection is a requirement.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

How are you going to have one university Computer Science class with virus in the computer?This is RED ALERT!

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Where's the incentive to end virus?

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

Anyone can install anti-malware tools, but it doesn't take a genius or uber geek to avoid malware. What do you do, and more importantly tell your users to do, to avoid infecting your systems?

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

invading earth, be sure to use anti-virus protection or Jeff Goldblum may upload a death head virus into your Alien FOrtress of Destruction. (for you public school High-School kids who didn't pay attention during HIstory class, this is, of course, the reason we celebrate Independence Day)

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