Cyveillance, February 2009 tested the best-of-breed anti-virus vendors and Web browser anti-phishing filters the report revealed an average of 37 per cent for malware and 42 per cent for phishing remain undetected even if your computer runs the most updated antivirus solution.
A shocking result nevertheless not surprising. Recent malware innovation is capable of pilfering your login credentials for online banking, brokerage, shopping, ecommerce, email, and social networking websites. Even if the site is deemed "secure", fraudsters can use your online account to execute unauthorised transactions, place orders, send emails, and much more.
How do they penetrate your security software.
More often than not you are the unwitting gateway. You visit a website you sign up and download, sometimes you don’t even need to do that just visiting the site is enough to install a cookie.
Most websites cookies are legitimate, for example your bank, may store cookies containing sensitive information in your browser. These cookies are required for the normal operation of the website. Using a variety of techniques, criminals can steal these cookies from your computer, then use them to take over your bank or other web accounts.
Why doesn’t your security software block this.
Your security software is reactive in other words to protect your computer your security software vendor has to implement a number of steps.
- Identify the rogue software.
- Write a definition code to first block then quarantine then remove malware.
- Publish the update.
- You have to download and install definition updates.
Usually security definition updates are automatically installed when you first start your computer. In the event the malware is already installed you will need to run a full scan to identify quarantine then delete. The problem is you unknowing installed the rogue cookie twenty four or more hours ago so you’re unlikely to run a scan besides the fraudster has the details they want.
Most damage occurs within the first twenty four hours of a fraudster publishing malware on to the internet. In reality criminals have a thirty day lead on signature based detection method invariably fraudsters update their malware software every twenty five to thirty days which bypasses your security software update.
What can you do.
Be proactive, ensure your operating system, application service packs, patches including security software are up to date. Run security software scans, ensure firewall software and hardware if you have a firewall hardware device are correctly configured. Considering installing Trusteer Rapport. This solution works as a standalone or alongside any desktop security solution. It hides your login credentials and web communication from malware and prevents unauthorised access to your accounts. You should install such software even if your computer runs the most updated antivirus solution. Most banks will provide a free DVD or links to their preferred software vendor. Good security software vendors have begun to integrate this capability and in recent years browser vendors have taken a more proactive stance towards security.
Third party software such as Trusteer Rapport can generally be seen and managed within your browser address bar. Trusteer Report comes preconfigured to protect you against certain websites (those working directly with Trusteer). For the majority of websites you will have to manually configure all sites that require you to enter your username and or password to access their website. You can easily do this by clicking the Trusteer icon in the address bar and in the drop down submenu select protect this website button.
Of course even this additional layer of security isn’t enough. No technology can resolve the weakest link unfortunately that’s you and the criminal knows this so educate yourself remember the criminal is always one step ahead. Being aware of fraudsters utilisation of technology is your greatest strength to protecting yourself.
With the move to cloud software protecting your credentials is more important than ever.