Coursera has a new course that discusses the malicious software industry, and other security type things, in it’s course entitled, Malicious Software and its Underground Economy: Two Sides to Every Story. This course is a basic overview of the “undernet”, also known as the “hackernet”, where malicious software is sold. Things like keyloggers, hacking software, botnet creation, and tons more things, that are typically sold on undernet websites. This type of software is typically seen in the media as a terrible plague on computers, and while it is true, if you take the necessary precautions, you won’t need to care about it.
Everyday more and more people, and companies, are becoming susceptible to hackers as they are being cheap on security, and not preparing for the absolute worst. For example, take the recent TJX attack, that stole millions of credit card numbers, and you want to know how law enforcement found out someone who did it? Because one of the hackers went onto Facebook and bragged about it. How’s that for your hacker? If you can imagine, this means that law enforcement was not able to follow up with anyone else who did the hacking, only the foolish one who bragged about it. Law enforcement is not able to stop the power that hackers are, and everyday more and more people are stashing everything online, from bank accounts, PayPal information, and other things, that allow for a hacker to completely ruin a person’s life, and companies and people are not taking the protections necessary. The need for a course on malicious software, like Coursera is doing, is becoming an absolute necessity. The internet is exactly like the real world, in that your information can be stolen, but it could be even worse. It could be that the person stealing your information leaves no trace (which is VERY possible), whereas in the real world, a trace is always left (whether it’s DNA or another mistake that wasn’t accounted for).
Sadly, this isn’t the tip of the iceberg either. Things like botnets, keyloggers, RATs, and many other tools are used, created, and being sold on these black markets. It’s important to realize not everything on the internet is tool to be used for hacking, but it’s also important to realize that the information being thrown out at the rate it is, makes it easy for anybody to become a hacker. You simply need to join a forum, learn how to reverse engineer, social engineer, learn some C++ or C, and find out what it is that makes a virus tick, and it will be published, and infecting computers as soon as possible. This “undernet” has been around for at least 2 decades now, dating all the way back to newsgroups who used to troll around and look for things that were just “begging” to be hacked (easy password sites, SQL Injections, and more). It wasn’t until the past decade that cybersecurity was even looked at this heavily! Most companies stored usernames and passwords in plaintext. No longer is that what needs to be done, though. Heck, there was a story not too long ago where Windows Vista was cracked before it was even released. If Microsoft, the giant computer company, can’t defend against it, what can you do?
So, what can you do? If you have the latest antivirus software, such as ESET NOD32, you will have very little to worry about, it will protect you from a malicious hacker attacking you. BUT! This doesn’t mean you have completed everything necessary to make sure your information is not stolen. Here are some tips for you to ensure that you have a safe time online.
1. Clear cookies.
This is important to make sure that marketers and others don’t consistently be on your tail, and prevents RAT attacks, which would come in through cookies and are meant to steal cookies and decrypt them, to get access to passwords.
2. Update security software.
This one is easy. If you have NOD32 Antivirus, it will update automatically without you doing much, so you will be protected.
3. Change passwords every 3 months.
Change passwords to your bank accounts, private e-mail, and even your social network every 3 months. If you can’t remember it, make sure to use KeyPass.
And these are some basic tips to staying safe online. It’s more important than ever to use a good piece of Security Software and to ensure that you protect yourself.