How to spot malware the old-fashioned way

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Security experts reminded users today that sometimes the best form of defence against malware attacks is common sense.

In a blog posting, Sophos senior security consultant Graham Cluley highlighted a recent Spanish-language spam email he noticed, which claims to point to an update for the Adobe Flash Player.

Clicking on the link in the email would take a user to a page requesting they download an "update" to Adobe Flash, which is actually malware. However, as Cluley points out, the email is littered with spelling mistakes, such as "Adoble" instead of "Adobe",

"So how do these tiny clues and mistakes manage to sprinkle themselves into a hacker's attack? Is there some divine intervention that is ensuring that so many cyber criminals keep making daft errors, putting a spanner in the works, and helping to tip off potential victims? Whatever the reason, I hope it continues for as long as there's a malwre problem," wrote Cluley.

Apart from regarding any unsolicited emails with suspicion, users should always visit the vendor's own site for any updates, he advised.

But while some cyber criminals are continuing to leave obvious errors in their emails or malicious sites, which should tip off wary users, the general trend appears to be towards greater professionalism in the cyber criminal world. If it's one thing criminals do well, it's that they learn quickly and stay agile.

So while it's obviously important to keep an eye out for any grammatical or other errors that could set alarm bells ringing, users can no longer be guaranteed that e-mail and web threats will be as easy to spot in future. Comprehensive real-time content scanning tools are an essential addition for any computer user today.


1 comment

Anonymous said...

Experts have talked about this before. How many times have you read about the importance of ‘adding value’ for your audience? How many times have you read about ‘building trust’ with your readers/prospects?

Many, many times. You know it well. Every marketing guru has spoken about this topic. I’m sick of hearing it. But it STILL bears repeating.

February 4, 2010 at 5:40 AM

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