Google’s release of this year’s Transparency Report has revealed a new section which delves deeper into the actual sources of two of the internet’s biggest threats: malware and phishing. Malicious software takes control of user computers, where phishing scams attempt to trick users into supplying their personal information and passwords.
In 2006, Google launched a safe browsing program, which not only finds suspicious web sites, but flags them as such, so that users can be warned. However, users were unable to see how many warnings were being sent to other users each week. They were also unable to see the global locations of the hosts of malicious sites, and how quickly malware re-infection occurs on user computers following a cleaning. Thankfully, Google is now able to show all of this and more.
Understanding how malware and phishing sites work is crucial to being able to avoid them and eliminate the chance of infection. In the case of malware, this is usually downloaded by the user, as it looks like a legitimate program. Once installed, however, malware can be used by hackers who use different methods to capture personal information and then transmit it to undisclosed locations.
Phishing can occur just about anywhere, including via email. These are like malware in that they appear to be legitimate, although phishing is most often attempted by the creation of a web site that a user visits to input their information. These sites attempt to capture the usernames, passwords and other sensitive information of users with the purpose of draining a bank account or getting a credit card number.
Protecting yourself more effectively can also include an arsenal of tools. A good firewall program, as well as antivirus software and a program which erases malware from your computer can all be added as layers of protection so that you can avoid the nightmare of data or identity theft. Experts strongly urge using a multi-pronged approach to computer security, as no one program can protect a user from all threats.
If you are a web site owner, your virtual property can be attacked at any time. But there are many ways to be warned of this, one of them being Google’s Safe Browsing program. This will alert webmasters to any hacking of their sites, as well as provide the information necessary for proper and complete cleanup to occur.
Among this information are the steps to take in order to completely recover a site from infection, which includes examples of the type of code that is commonly injected into web sites by hackers. Those web site owners may also be monitored by Google to see how quickly they reacted to a security breach by executing a site cleanup once notification of infection was received.
And because any web site can become re-infected following a cleaning due to underlying vulnerabilities, Google also measures the rate of re-infection so that other web site owners can be warned. Incorporating all of these tools with The Internet Safety Guide can mean that you never have to deal with the lasting damage that an attack on your computer or web site can cause.