Despite the warnings from experts in the news and media, viruses and Trojans continue to run rampant across computers today. While the following four types of viruses are serious, keep in mind that they are rare, but not uncommon. If you believe your network may be unsecure, penetration testing is the best way to identify and protect yourself from threats like these:
Browser hijackers: These are scripts from certain web pages that can either place shortcuts in your Favorites folder on your browser or can even change your home page. Even scarier? Some can actually change the registry settings in Windows so that no matter how many times you try to reset your home page, it will always revert to the malicious site. Hackers do this to increase the number of page views, or “hits” that the website gets to inflate page rankings and increase visibility on websites.
Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks: Hackers aim to temporarily disable a computer, server or website so that legitimate users cannot access the site or computer. Typically, hackers can easily accomplish this by overloading the computer or server with more information than it can handle. Another way is to send a request for information (“IP pinging”) computers that are connected to the server, and all the other computers try to respond all at once. A Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) uses a number of computers to perform the same thing.
Backdoor Trojan: A Trojan is a program that looks legitimate but turns out to be a virus in disguise. A backdoor Trojan will sneak into the computer’s registry files. Hackers gain control over your computer by this type of penetration. Tracking your keystrokes, sending spam mail and accessing your personal files are all ways hackers use an infected computer.
Internet Worms: More serious than viruses, internet worms create copies of themselves and are spread from computer to computer through loopholes in the operating system itself or through weaknesses in the browser. Worms can either cause DoS attacks or else encrypt your personal data.
Penetration testing can help to identify weak spots in your network so that viruses and worms can’t sneak their way in. Never visit strange websites and be on the alert for those that look legit but are fake; never give out your personal information; never open a file or click on a link until you are sure it is legitimate; and always keep your virus software and firewalls updated.0