It's always seemed like malware and other forms of dangerous attacks have been out there waiting to bring our computer systems to their knees. In some ways, an attack of some kind has always been out there waiting. But do you know the full history of where this malicious form of attack came from?
Being a security company, we are aware of the attacks that are out there. There is something always lurking, a new battle to fight, and a new virus coming stronger and more dangerous than the one before. But where did this all begin? How long has this malicious attitude been around? Possibly a lot longer than you would believe. Malware is malicious software that is designed to disrupt computer operation, takes sensitive information, and can gain access to private computer systems. It is the term used for viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and beyond. At first, it wasn't necessarily created to be malicious. It was just supposed to be entertaining and even productive. But today this term is only referred to in a very negative light and one that we all dread seeing on our computers.
There has always been a malicious presence since the dawning of the computer age. The first computer virus dates back to the late 40s when the theory that a computer program could reproduce itself was introduced. Fred Cohen, the father of the computer virus coined the term "virus" in his 1986 thesis. He defined a virus as "a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a, possibly evolved, version of itself" Once personal computers became common, that is when the world of malware truly exploded. Between the 1980s and the 2000s, the growth and development of viruses truly took hold. In each decade since there has been a substantial amount of well-known attacks.
One of the very first viruses was created by a 15-year-old in 1982, called Elk Cloner. It was one of the first widespread self-replicating viruses to affect the personal computer. In its earliest stages, malware was spread by the use of floppy discs. But once the internet came to be, that too was taken over by hackers. 1999 brought the first mass emailed virus that utilized Outlook address books from infected computers. It mailed itself to 50 people at a time. That was the infamous Melissa virus.
Once we passed the Y2K fear and entered into the early 2000s to 2010, the rise of malware grew significantly both in number and how fast infections spread. In 2004 the very first virus to infect a mobile phone was released. Since 2010 we have gone from speed and the amount of malware to the growth in its intelligence and it's sophistication. Every day new groups are evolving to outsmart even the toughest anti-malware systems out there. The groups and companies they are attacking are more influential, powerful, and wealthier than ever before. With attacks on military systems, factories, and even deeper classified information, the attacks are becoming very daunting.
This new age has also lead to the birth of ransomware and many other illegal actions, the goal of gaining money through malware became a reality. In 2017, we saw the release of the Wannacry Ransomware. This virus locked people out of their data and demanded a ransom for it to be restored, or it would be lost forever. This attack affected 150 countries and hit banks, hospitals, warehouses, and many other companies. Just last year as cryptocurrency has begun to grow, Thanto's became the first ransomware to receive payment in bitcoin.
As of today, malware has infected at least 1/3 of the world's computers. Cybercrime is looking to hit over six trillion dollars in losses by 2021. Cybercrime has the fastest growing crime rate in the United States, and it continues to grow. The rise of malware happened because of the rise of the PC, but now anything electronic is at risk for attack. This includes fit bits, smart light bulbs, or even airlines. Everything from ATMs to e-cigarettes has already been attacked. With more computers, more connectivity, and more access - the rise of malware is eminent. It can be an overwhelming thought, especially when it has such humble beginnings.
But from its humble beginnings, it did become a subject of common knowledge, and one that is battled and worked against every day. Netcertpro is here to help you face any dangers coming your way and will be there if they ever show up at your door.
If there is one trend we want our followers and customers to be aware of, it is the danger of Phishing Scams. Be safe and be prepared, they can be incredibly dangerous to you and your personal information.
A phishing scam is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and cred card information by hackers by the use of disguising themselves as a trustworthy form like emails or text messages. If a hacker is successful in gaining this information it could lead to the hacking of your email account, your bank accounts, and any other sensitive information of yours that is password protected. Thousands of these attacks are launched every day and are very successful. In one year it was estimated by the FBI that thirty million dollars was lost to phishing schemes.
These phishing emails and texts are often disguised as companies and organizations that you know, trust, and use often. One such popular phishing scam that has recently been discovered was that one of these dangerous hackers was using the cover that they were actually Netflix trying to upgrade or renew subscribers' accounts and asking for their credit card information. A lot of people fell for it because it looked very legitimate and a lot of people have Netflix accounts. But these phishing scams can also disguise themselves to look like they are contacting you from your bank, your credit card company, your favorite social media apps, and your favorite online shopping websites. Amazon has been used as a disguise for phishing scams too.
But how are so many people falling prey to these attacks? Shouldn't they be able to spot them? Honestly, one of the most dangerous things about them is how legitimate they look and how well written they are. Those behind the scams know how to tell a story or create a dialogue with you that you trust and believe and will lead you to click on a dangerous link, attachment, or have you put in your personal information. These phishing scams might even promise and offer free stuff, and who doesn't love free stuff?
You need to make sure that you are taking steps in protecting yourself against these phishing scams. A multi-layer of protection is recommended. First off, Netcertpro is here to protect you and offer protection against these scams and if you happen to fall for or open up one of these messages. It's okay! Don't feel bad for falling for them. They are so common and so well done and taking over our inboxes that it's becoming more and more common to see. These hackers are putting up a good fight to get your information!
Step One. You need to use security software for protection and make sure you update your software and computer as often as it is available.
Step Two. Don't just protect your computer. Protect your cellphones and smart devices. Automatically allow your devices to update themselves. More often than not these updates have new and stronger forms of security, stability, and protection.
Step Three. Protect your sensitive information and accounts with multiple passwords and security questions.
Step Four. Back up your data and make sure none of those backups are connected to your systems that you are backing up!
If you believe you've received a phishing email or text don't just delete it. Report it. Forward the emails to the FTC (the Federal Trade Commission) at email@example.com and to the anti-phishing working group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tex messages can be forwarded to SPAM (7726) and report it at ftc.gov/complaint
Be smart, be aware, and be cautious. Phishing Scams will continue to be out there. Make sure you're protected before it's too late.
Jeremy Sonntag &