12 Million New Variants Of Malware Each Month
In a posting on www.knowbe4.com today, January 20th, 2015 - they reference information shown at www.av-test.com where AV-TEST statistics show approximately 12 million new variants of malware per month are currently being found. They recommend on emails to be watchful all the time and point out the most dangerous ones now seem to be including urgent wording to get us to open them with subjects such as "BREAKING NEWS".
We here at PCFixes have had a long history of helping computer users find and remove bad things from their computers and always try to educate our followers on how to be watchful and prevent problems before they happen when its possible to do that. It is however getting harder to do with the traditional means. In years past if a particular bad email was circulating it would be common to see notices that said "Don't Open emails that say "Welcome to ...". People would be warned of ones that were making the rounds by their
particular email subject title. Obviously with 12 million variants a month this is not practical.
I often get asked - why do people do these things? Well it used to be that there were only a handful of real trojans and virus bugs - and that some programmer wanna-be would get the source code for one of them and change it slightly - perhaps so it would put his girlfriends name all over your screen instead of the last message -and then send it out to do mischief. Most of these bugs were similar - variations of a few common pests. I explained to those asking me that it was like "GRAFFITI" painted on the wall somewhere - a way for someone to make their little mark on the world for a few minutes. However today's pests are more dangerous and most are profit minded.
Todays pests often take the form of what we call RANSOMWARE or SCAREWARE - where they might frighten you into buying their "product" or hold your PC hostage electronically until you pay them for "cleaning" the bugs out. Some pretend to be legitimate PC cleanup software - but are scams. Some now don't even try to pretend, just immediately lock up your data and demand a payment before you can have it back.
Even the minor pests such as coupon bars, and other various adware are profit oriented - they get commissions back from the purchases or views of ads they send you to. The ones that irk me lately put ads on pages where there were none. They do a very good job of intercepting the content of a site, and adding ads where there were none, and additional ads where there were a few. I first saw some of these recently when I was assisting a client to view one of the 4 online radio stations I help. When the page for a non-profit radio station suddenly had lots of advertising on each page I knew the pc was infected. Such an adware tool not only makes a problem for the sites who choose not to have advertising- but the additional ads can cause advertising on a site that is intentional to be less effective.
People ask why the police can't fix this. Of course there are divisions of our federal and even state police that are tasked with preventing Internet crimes - and going after those who do such - but again many of them are out of the country - and change their connections and providers regularly. However with every 100 that are caught, thousands take their place. And simple pests that put extra advertising into your browser are far less a priority than major cyber crimes and International Cyber Terrorism.
What can you do? As we have been reccommending for some years now, just be careful what you open - what sites you use. Try not to blindly follow search engine results as many less than official sites pay extra to advertise their sites - and will end up high on Google's listing. Google will always identify those who pay - with the marker on the left of the individual result so be wary of those if you are not sure. As I have pointed out before, when you search for a popular item, sometimes the first listings are ones that are using that item you searched for's popularity to help promote either something not exactly the same, or the same item with extra added things you may not be wanting.
Follow the old adage - "You get what you pay for". While there are some great free programs and sites out there, beware if they are using advertising to shove them at you. Usually a free program can not afford such advertising unless there is a "catch". While some have a free version and then a pay version - so they can afford to advertise some, its my experience that you need to look a bit deeper before grabbing some of these helpful free tools lately. Many that claim to speed up your computer or make sure you have the latest driver software either don't do that at all or do it poorly and some are clearly scams. If you see one you like, take a minute to google it and see what comes up and whether it is all good - or just the company that is pushing it saying its wonderful. Any website can put a list of testimonials about how wonderful its product is. Check with the other sites that deal with what ever type of software you are looking into and see if other folks not connected to the latest wonderful thing say about it. When in doubt - wait- or -run- from it.
As always - we hope this helps you to see more clearly on some of the latest pests - with this report of 12 million new ones each month - we unfortuneatly have little doubt you will see and likely be effected by some of them, but with some care and the right free tools you should come out ok. Remember our usual rules and suggestions on backing up your important data, and feel free to use our other blog postings about cleaning your pc regularly and BUNDLEWARE to help you stay working as smoothly as possible.