Sponsor Robert Siciliano as he runs the Boston Marathon for Miles for Miracles, Children's Hospital Boston
ROBERT SICILIANO is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.


Check here if you're human


Internet Security Isn’t Getting Any Prettier

Pin It

Malicious software (malware) is, in many ways, very well understood. Security experts know how it works and why. Cybercriminals’ motivations are pretty straightforward—making money from malware and related attacks.

In the latest McAfee Threats Report: Q3 2012 , malware is still growing and while it’s not growing quite as fast as it was in previous quarters, the amount of malware still topped 100 million samples.

Besides the large growth in mobile malware , there has also been an increase in the tactics that cybercriminals are using to attack you. Some of these techniques include:

Autorun Malware
AutoRun (also known as AutoPlay) is a feature in Windows systems that dictates what action the system should take when a device is connected to your PC. So when you connect your USB drive or insert a DVD into your drive, AutoRun is what will automatically open or in some cases play what is on these devices. Cybercriminals use this feature to automatically install malicious software when an infected USB or other removable device is plugged into your PC. What makes AutoRun scary is it requires no effort on your part to click any links. This is a “plug and play” malware and can even come on products shipped right from the factory such as external hard drives, USB drives and LCD picture frames.

Mac malware
With over 350 new samples in Mac malware in Q3 2012, the growing popularity of Apple products has inspired cybercriminals to create malware that will harm Macs. McAfee Labs is seeing fake antivirus programs targeted at Mac users. In other words, there are an increased number of programs known as “scareware,” which claim to protect users from viruses and malware but users who attempt to install the supposed antivirus software are actually downloading malicious software. This malware can damage your Mac or compromise your personal information.

Ransomware malware typically accuses you of visiting illegal websites, locks your computer then demands a payment to unlock the device. And even if you pay, you are not guaranteed to get access to your files and now the criminal has your financial information.You can get “infected” with ransomware in a myriad of ways, including links in emails, instant messaging, texts and social networking sites, or by simply visiting a website that can download the malicious software on your computer. With a 43% growth this past quarter, ransomware is definitely something to watch out for.

The past quarter’s threats report has shown cybercrime exhibits few signs of slowing down, and cybercriminals using more tricks to steal your money. To help protect yourself you should:

Keep your operating systems updated on all your devices

Be selective about websites you visit and use a safe search tool like McAfee SiteAdvisor® to warn you about risky sites before you click

Avoid clicking links in emails, text messages or instant messages, especially from people you don’t know

Stay educated on the latest tricks, cons and scams designed to fool you

Use comprehensive security software like McAfee All Access that provides cross-device protection for all your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets


Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

Similar Posts

  • “Old” Malware Attacks Rising Significantly
    Earlier this week McAfee Labs™ released the McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2013, which reported that malware shows no sign of changing its steady growth, which has risen steeply during the last two quarters. Many of the most significant growth trends from previous three quarters actually went into remission, while older types of attacks and what can
  • 4 Tactics Cybercriminals Are Using to Steal From Us
    Today McAfee Labs™ released the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2013, which reported that the cybercriminal community is using four main tactics to steal our identities, and our money. As consumers, it’s critical that we are aware of the ways the hackers are trying to attack us and here’s the four main ways: 1. Malicious apps on
  • What is Ransomware?
    Imagine that you want to pull up a certain file on your computer. You click on the file and suddenly a notice flashes on your screen saying your computer has been compromised and in order to get your files back, you need to pay up some money. This, ladies and gentlemen, is ransomware, a nasty
  • What You Should be Aware of When Using Your Android Device
    As we all migrate towards using smartphones and tablets, we need to be aware of the risks associated with them. Most of us know that we need to protect our computers with security software, but we don’t always take that precaution with our mobile devices. In fact nearly 75% of Americans do not use mobile
  • Myth: Apple Products Don’t Get Viruses
    Have you ever bitten into an apple and found a worm? I have, and it’s yummy! Anyway, how many times have you heard, or even said, “I won’t get that computer virus because I have a Mac”?  While Mac users tend to feel somewhat insulated from viruses, it’s time for anyone who owns an Apple

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Xtreme School

Featured in

Anderson Cooper John Stossel Robert Siciliano Featured in
Browse by Month

Browse by Category