Spyware - from Russia with love
SECURITY REMAINS a key part of the IT world, but the nature of the threats against computer users has changed significantly over the past few years.
Daniel Mothersdale, Webroot marketing manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, reckons that many writers of malicious software are no longer concerned with causing damage to computers but rather with sitting quietly in front of the PC collecting information.
He says that much of the information gathered by this malicious software, called spyware, which could be credit card information or sensitive corporate information, is passed on to organised criminal groups mostly based in Russia.
He explains that the nature of the threat has created the need to ensure that computers are protected against this kind of threat, something that traditional security programs are not particularly good at doing.
One of the problems is that the writers of these programs are finding more sophisticated ways of hiding the spyware. One of these is to hide a smaller program that pulls down the spyware from the Internet. Even if the spyware is detected and deleted, the next time the computer is booted, the hidden program downloads a new copy of it, making it very difficult to rid the computer of the threat.
The other threat, while less insidious, that’s making life difficult for computer users is adware. This is software that automatically pulls down advertising to the computer, and while this isn’t malicious, it does slow down the computer and makes the computing experience frustrating.