This page last updated 2014 Sept 25
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used in the following courses taught by Prof. Richardson
reading this unit, and listening to the lecture in class, students will
have information about:
glossary of Viruses
|It is not the
intention of this part of the course to be able to adequately cover all
the various types of viruses that may effect e-commerce since we do not
have the time nor resources to do that satisfactorily -
but, it is important to have some understanding of the business risk at stake here and try to evaluate if it is a serious problem, because - if it is a serious problem, then every e-commerce professional needs to add to their portfolio of knowledge, some degree of understanding about viruses.
the 2nd week in April 2014 (April 15th), Richardson was interviewed
by Jacqueline Milczarek live on air for CTV News to discuss the Heartbleed
computer bug. Richardson reminded viewers that "the fundamental principle
of security is that you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be better
prepared than people who made no contingency at all"
|This web site is very helpful and you are encouraged to bookmark it and check it for terms you do not know.|
|Is the problem getting worse? At this stage statistics on known virus attacks seem to indicate the problem is getting worse. For the most part, security experts believe the majority of virus attacks are made by unhappy employees and egotistical hackers and crackers - it does not appear to be something that companies are employing against each other to give themselves a competitive edge - but it may not be long before this happens since businesses large and small have been known to use very "illegal and immoral" tactics to gain advantage.|
with today's viruses is twofold: Not only can they be easily
rewritten to change their signatures and bypass antivirus tools, but they
are also tempting attachment types for click-happy users who see nothing
wrong with opening mail attachments from trusted sources. "
1. viruses can change form so the anti-virus software you installed, and obediently updated, cannot recognize the new virus as a threat, and does not screen it outan article in Computerworld written by Deborah Radcliff
formerly at http://www.surfcontrol.com/news/articles/content/12_11_2000_cw.html
So, what is the problem when people don't listen, and follow proper procedures to protect against viruses?
Radcliff quotes Roland Cuny,
chief technology officer at Webwasher.com, an Internet content filtering
What is part of a technical solution to block viruses?
Radcliff quotes experts saying you can "...set up filters to block executable attachments before they get to desktops. Blocking file types known to carry viruses and Trojan horses (hidden programs) may sound extreme. Bruce Moulton, vice president of infrastructure risk management at Fidelity Investments in Boston said he first reviewed how his company uses these file types. Once he determined that these attachments weren't even used for business purposes, making the decision to block them was easy. "The business impact of shutting out these file types is zero because 99.9% of these attachments that come in are for personal viewing, like animated Christmas cards, movie clips, things like that,"
"As you had discussed in class, Heartbleed virus was a snooping virus which was used
to obtain personal information of individuals. However, like your example of a thief
trying to rob a condo building with his obtained master key would not necessarily go
door by door robbing each home but rather may only hit a few or only specific
In the case of Shellsock, it can be used to remotely gain control of any system that
uses BASH. BASH, which stands for Bourne-Again SHell, is a command prompt that can
be found on Linux and Mac OS systems. The magnitude of this virus is estimated to be
much larger then that of Heartbleed, estimated at 500 million computers."
"I was browsing through news articles when one article caught my attention after our in class discussion on viruses. The article states thatviruses are going to become the next big threat to smart phones. I find this to be interesting because it is apparent that most cell phone users are turning towards smartphones because they are essentially built for mobile computing, due to the increase in processor capability, memory and oprerating system whether it be a
Blackberry, Iphone, Google Android, or Windows Mobile. The article by Michael Oliveira
states that viruses are becoming an issue due to the open source nature of downloadable applications. Apps are a large part of having a smartphone because users develop Apps for anything imaginable. The article states that with more users downloading apps it becomes easier
for hackers to change codes and infect popular adds that users can download.
is this a problem
Safety Commandments! -
found by Wadia in MRK 410 March 2004
No computer is immune to crashes or other events that can take out a work
Here are a few points to remember says FreewareRocks.com.
"A virus can not appear on your computer all by itself. You get it by sharing infected files or diskettes, or by downloading infected files from the Internet.
Generally, you can not get a virus by reading the body of an email message, they are usually carried in an attachment (e.g., a Word or Excel file). These attachments should be scanned automatically before you read them.
There are a few things you can do to protect your computer from virus infection. Most important on the list is to install - update and use a high-quality anti-virus program, and especially be sure to update it regularly. A non-updated Anti-Virus program is outdated and practically useless. Use it to scan any files, programs, software, or diskettes (even new software from a commercial company) before you use them on your computer.
Never open any attachment with two extensions. For instance, "iamavirus.txt.vbs" should definitely cause you to raise an eyebrow. Virus creators use this as a way to disguise their destructive payload. Many of our computers are set to not display any extensions at all so the double extension rule may not always work."
|What does it do?
"Code Red, named for a caffeinated
soft drink favored by computer programmers, scans the Internet for other
computers to infect, and as more computers are infected the scanning gets
more widespread and could slow Internet traffic to a crawl. The worm
can also defaces sites, though in two of the three known variants
no vandalism is apparent to computer users. In last week's hits, some U.S.
government sites showed the message ''Hacked by Chinese!'' but the Chinese
government said the worm probably did not come from China."
|One of the reasons that
people do open these viruses is because they are tricked into thinking
it is legitimate email and upon opening the email to have a look - that
action launches the virus into your computer. This is the case with the
Palyh (aka Mankx) worm of May 2003.
A Microsoft spokesman said the company never sends out unsolicited mass e-mails with attachments. So................... if you get an email that says it is from email@example.com ................. chances are it is a fake and the sender is just trying to get you to read something, or open something which may cause harm to your computer.
Viruses spreading faster
"It only took 10 minutes for the SQL Slammer worm to race across the globe and wreak havoc on the Internet two weeks ago, [Jan 2003] making it the fastest-spreading computer infection ever seen, researchers said on Tuesday [Feb 4th , 2003] ."
"The worm, which nearly cut off Web access in South Korea and shut down some U.S. bank teller machines, doubled the number of computers it infected every 8.5 seconds in the first minute of its appearance, said a computer security research group led by the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis. By comparison, the Code Red worm -- which came 18 months earlier -- only doubled every 37 minutes."
Permission to quote from Yahoo!, use the Yahoo! logo, and use screen captures, was given in an email by Debbie Macleod, Yahoo! Marketing Manager Jan 21st, 2005. Copy of the email is kept in the permissions binder
Viruses spreading faster
If you go to this URL, you can see a map of the world with an animation showing how fast the virus spread on a map of the world
|In early Feb
2007, Stefan S., one of my graduate students in the FSM program at Seneca,
emailed to offer comments and suggestions about Java Viruses
[WTGR adds, this suggests surfing with Netscape or Firefox would obviuously seem to be the thing to do]Stefan explained
"You go to a website, and automatically as the website loads, the software downloads to your computer (no windows pop up, no notifications); this is all possible through active-x. These viruses, 75% of the time store themselves in you Program Files / Documents and Settings / “User” / Application Data / Sun / Java folder as java extensions. These viruses are mainly data miners and generate annoying pop-ups after they initiate. Some of them can be removed by uninstalling and manually deleting the Java folder others affect the windows kernel and require hard rive format for proper removal. The point is that since they uninstall themselves quietly and some do not indicate their presence physically, most users have an average of about 15 installed on their computer. Programs such as Ad-Aware detect some of them but s
ometimes can not remove several extensions (those require registry editing)."
Stefan then targets a sensitve
point about anti-virus solution products, saying
targets a sensitve point about anti-virus solution products, saying
"This is a growing business for Anti-Virus companies who claim they can stop these viruses. The fact is, so can consumes without these programs."
Most people download movies/music and watch pornography on the internet. The sites that provide these services have a lot of this viruses since it is a way to make money (your neighbor comes to mind, easy to get e-mail addresses this way).
What Norton does (and by doing so renders your system unusable due to lag) is disable certain active-x commands and prevents these viruses from installing, however this can be done manually in I.E (and without the lag) for example:
You go to I.E > Tools > Internet Options >Security> Turn all 4 –internet, local internet, trusted sites, restricted sites- to high security then go to >Privacy> and disable cookies and finally go to >Advanced> and uncheck Java which will not load the Java api next time you restart I.E. Now restart I.E.
By doing this, you I.E is safe, there is no computer lag, and no possibility of viruses and it is free. However these settings will not display some sites correctly and will disable a lot of eye candy. Their purpose is to be used with HIGH RISK websites and provide safe surfing by disabling all Java and Active-x extensions, therefore limiting I.E to basic browsing and no downloads (uncontrollable ones). When you want to surf the net normally, you can default all setting and enable cookies and java again so everything is allowed."
concluded with a bit of a rant
"My experience in this field spans to about 10 years and is mainly in computer hardware. I serviced main-frames and maintained systems for several small businesses. However the computer industry is in a very “disgusting” state at the moment and I am not interested in it any longer. It has commercialized to such a degree there are no values or morals any ware to be seen."
in on Virus Infections
Michelle Delio of wired.com says
"Over the past few months, many viruses such as 'My Doom', 'Net Sky' and the 'Bagel' virus have been infecting computers and polluting servers on a worldwide scope. Even though anti-virus programs are being purchased at record amounts, many experts are saying that these infectious programs are spreading a rapid pace.
An annual fee is attached when purchasing anitvirus solutions, this in return, offers the user to download current "signature file" updates that identify the most current infectious program(virus). It normally takes anitvirus companies a few hours to develop "signature files" that can be updated by the user. This poses a problem because almost all viruses now can spread globally in a matter of minutes. So, are the antivirus companies really helping out?"
action taken by some of the major online companies against spamers
Monday, Mar. 22, 2004
The article dealt with the joint legal action taken by some of the major online companies against spamers.
The following are some points from the article as summarized by Jamaal
|Netscape says one of the
best protections is "to install an anti-virus program".
Do they work?
Particularly if you update your program regulary.
Prof. Richardson uses Norton and leaves the "auto protect" ON all the time - this means incoming emails are screened even before you consider opening them.
In the 3rd week in April 2002, someone persistently tried to email Richardson a virus and it was caught every time - as you can see in the screen capture below.
This screen capture shows my virus checker at work catching someone trying to send the W32.Klez.gen@mm virus
of a virus
a complete list of Email Hoaxes including ones that affect ICQ downloadable
about Computer E-Mail Viruses
...and why they are not possible...
"A virus can not exist in an e-mail text message. They also can NOT exist in USENET (newsgroup) postings or simply "float around" the internet. Viruses must be attached to and infect an executable program (.exe, .com). Viruses and other system-destroying bugs can ONLY exist in EXECUTABLE FILES, and since e-mail is not a system file in that sense, viruses can not exist there. While reading e-mail, you are not executing any malicious code to activate! Thus, no virus can exist. HOWEVER, if you (or your computer) download a FILE attached to an e-mail or USENET posting (i.e.-binary) and RUN it, there IS a chance that file could contain a virus, since a runable file could contain a virus. It is also very important that you DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow your e-mail program to automatically execute an attached file. You risk infection by doing so!"
"Viruses are generally (almost always) OS (operating system)-specific. Meaning, viruses created for a DOS application can do no damage on a Macintosh, and vice-versa."
"There has been one exception
to the OS-specific rule, which is called the Microsoft Word Macro Virus,
which infects documents instead of the program. "
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