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A new culture of threats on the horizon

#1 User is offline marko

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    Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:55 PM

    It still amazes me how many people attempt to run more than one antivirus application at a time. Only the other day I was asked to look at a friends PC when I noticed not only were they running Avast which I had previously installed for them, but they were also running McAfee and Norton!!.

    When I asked how they managed to install these applications I was told 'another friend' sorted them out!.

    I was then asked why they couldn't enter their postcode into 'explorer'?. Confused I enquired further asking what it was they were trying to access or sign up for and they simply said it was just to get onto explorer. Looking further into the issue it was obvious their other 'friend' had installed all manner of P2P applications with associated toolbars and a whole host of malware into the bargain which was obviously redirecting their browser session to a load of nonsense sites which was asking for their personal details.

    I attempted to explain to my now, unfortunate friend, that by allowing someone to install various P2P applications and antivirus software which they didn't know the origins of it was likely their computer was badly infected with malware and spyware. The computer was running like a pig basically, and this was a computer they had only just bought last year.

    By this time it was obvious they didn't want the software removed that their other 'friend' had installed, so I basically explained the situation to them and they were happy to continue with the computer as it was.

    That just amazed me, it really did. Not only does this person now realise the risks of their personal information being compromised, but they are happy to trade this in exchange to download a few movies or MP3's!. They could sign up for any of the MP3 download services and pay a fraction of the price they will ultimately pay if their credit card information is stolen.

    Now this friend was, let's say 50 something, which is great in the sense he's got himself online and is enjoying his experience but this and another few examples I've encoutered suddenly made me stop and think. I've seen young people fall into the same trap by basically downloading what they think is an MP3 or movie file but which turns out to be a virus - I've even saw young people uninstall antivirus software because it either interferes with their net access or basically slows down the computer but when dealing with the more mature person on the net it's obvious there is far more at stake here and it would be obvious for the cyber criminals to target those older people as they have credit card information available and savings details all stashed away electronically, ready for the taking when other 'friends' unwittingly install P2P software with malware or show them warez sites which lead to other unscrupulous sites asking for personal information.

    The 50+ group is one of the fastest growing groups getting themselves online these days, and it concerns me that for some it will only lead to disaster when they realise someone has had access to their bank accounts or credit card information as a result of their search for downloads. It has to be said that a large number of our own members fall into the 50+ group which is fantastic they have found a site which is passionate about safety, but alas for many they will go down the road shown to them by their grandchildren or even their own mature children which is often via P2P downloads and warez sites. For me, this means a whole new culture of threats is on the horizon, not just for that age group but for us all as more and more computers become infected and start spreading the work of the unscrupulous sites and virus developers!.
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    #2 User is offline James (Jim) Hillier

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      Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:03 AM

      There is just no helping some people Marko!!

      That experience may give you some insight into what I continually have to do battle with. Being well and truly in the over 50 set myself, most of my friends, associates and clients also fit into that category...birds of a feather and all that. It is very difficult to get through to some of them.

      Cheers mate...Jim
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      #3 Guest_Edo_*

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      Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:02 PM

      Dear Marko, I don't know your age (it's my first time on your site -surely the first I'm not only checking for free SW-) but the situation you are reporting is really common. I don't know how many friends asks me (who I'm considered an "expert") to solve their computer problems and I always found a lot of garbage on their PCs. Sometimes is only the fact that they simply don't know what they are doing and are REALLY surprised (and then they may also become angry) to find that simply downloading a music file could be so dangerous. Ok, I'm talking of newbies, but now having a computer and browsing internet it's something like "a must", so if their neighbour is able to browse internet, why they could not?
      Instead others are happy to "cohabitate" with some viruses or malwares because they think it's a "fair" price to pay to be able to download music films and so on. I think that the real problem is that no one is now concerned on security... security it's a beautiful word, unless it slows down computers (antivirus) or block your browsing experience (firewall).
      There's nothing you or me can do, unless you're able to change people's mind... but this is another story :-))
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      #4 User is offline marko

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        Posted 19 May 2010 - 04:09 PM

        To be honest if someone these days is unaware of the threats around, it almost borders on ignorance - there is no end of advice available on all manner of resources across the web, we try our best to get the message out there that it doesn't cost a penny to fully secure your PC but the warez scene is very much still alive and kicking, and most probably gaining in strength. Personally, if someone doesn't necessarily care about their own safety then that's up to them I guess, but the worrying prospect for me is when their computer then becomes infected and used as a 'zombie' to propagate attacks in strength.
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        #5 Guest_Edo_*

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        Posted 20 May 2010 - 01:52 PM

        Marko, I report you the case of my parents. They are really old (both over 70) but it's a common case also with other that are "younger". Well the "computer" is something strange that they have on the table... sometimes they fear also pushing the start button because it could be dangerous (they think this could break it), so they just know how to start it then ther's an "icon" (oh! what a strange name) that must be double clicked (very difficult to learn) and then they can read and write the emails. Otherwise there's another icon which can be used to see "what start with www" (navigate or browse are too much technical word for them). How do you think that a person like this could solve a problem? They don't want (and probably are not able to) learn how to solve problem: simply they wnat a PC that is always working... maybe not very fast but reliable... what is an hard drive or where the files are saved are something they don't want to know... that's all. Every young boy is able to solve his/her problem by himself, but for older people who never had (or was interested in) computer this appear like "magician". And I can assure you that most people (also of my age -I'm 40-) thinks in this way. it's not because it's really difficult, but because they simply don't worry about this and everything that happens "inside" their computer is out of their matter. A lot of people simply don't know what a computer is: for them the computer is the beautiful monitor on the table... the "box" near it (or under the table) is not really important... And, IMHO, this is a really common case... at least in Italy where I live. Excuse me if I was prolix and maybe a little polemic... but this is a common situation where I think there's no solution at all (unless you think that who is not able to "understand" its computer is not deserving to have one)... sadly the fact that everyone is broadband connected means less security, because everyone connects to the net every new apparate immediately after taking it out of the box withouth checking to secure it. And i'm sure that the potential "zombies" in the world are billion, but ask to your friends (someone who don't know anything on computers) if they know that a computer could be completely "possessed" by someone other... I think that most of them doesn't know this. And i think that everyday the "newbies" that could potentially become new zombies are growing and growing... I'm a little pessimist in thinking to a solution or a change of this trend... maybe because I don't believe in "humanity"? :-) The last was a little provocation, but I'm really not happy about our online security future...
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        #6 User is offline marko

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          Posted 20 May 2010 - 02:25 PM

          Edo, I understand what it is you're saying, my problem isn't first and foremost with those who don't take care of their computer, it's with those who want to do it damage, like the virus writers, script kiddies and so forth. Next, my problem lays with those apparently responsible for policing the net, we know where the majority of problems come from yet still allow the world wide web to be accessible to them, same as illegal downloads, but the countries where these threats and illegal behaviour come from will do little, if anything, to tackle the issue therefore the only solution I can think of is to start threatening these countries with severe restrictions to the rest of the world unless they start doing something about the problem. Obviously, is goes without saying that threats come from all over the world, but if we quash the main bulk of the problem we're fast on the way to dealing with it.

          Now, to quote you .. "unless you think that who is not able to "understand" its computer is not deserving to have one" .. this isn't really about stopping someone using a computer when they can't understand the security requirements, just in the same way we wouldn't want someone to drive a car if they can't understand what's involved they would seek tuition, employ a driving instructor to make them competent and similarly those new to computers should be sensible enough to seek the knowledge required to at least begin safe computing. This doesn't happen this way, I know, but my point is even when some people are told the errors of their ways they still don't seem to grasp the potential consequences of their actions, like the people I know who allow their children to police their internet connection???!!!. I would estimate that around 70% of the adults I know personally leave the computer issues to the kids, which results in illegal downloading, surfing innapropriate websites, cyber bullying of some description and all manner of other irresponsible actions. Despite my own best efforts to explain what's happening it's basically just too much hassle for these folk, they can't be bothered with it all and find it much easier just to let the kids carry on, unaware of what they are accessing and viewing online.

          When it comes to the older person on the net, as I said before, the 50+ group is rising fast on the net which is only going to add to the problems we all face on a daily basis - there are thousands, if not millions, of websites dealing with basic security, it's in the news nearly ever day, as are the cyber criminals, yet when it comes to the crunch some people just don't particularly care about what happens to their computer or what is transmitted over their internet connection!.
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