|Worms can penetrate Apple|
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 02:00
Fake security software was the number one cyber security woe afflicting computer users in 2009, and Apple users lost some of their immunity to cyber-crime as they stored more data online instead of on hard drives, according to the cyber security firm Symantec.
In a report released on Tuesday, Symantec noted that Brazil had risen to third place in the list of countries with "malicious activity", defined as spam, online scam attempts and other types of cyber-crime. The US remained in first place at 19%, with China second at 8%, and Brazil third at 6%.
Conficker – a malicious software program all over the news last April – and sophisticated attacks on Web sites of Google and other large companies, in December and reported in January, were the most publicised cyber events of the year.
But the single most prevalent form of cyber-crime was fake security software, which computer users normally see as a flashing notice that their computer is infected with a virus, said Vincent Weafer, a Symantec VP.
The notice often provides a link to software that can be downloaded after payment, but the user does not get security software but, rather, a virus or worse, Weafer said.
"Virtually everything we see today is fake AV (anti-virus)," he told Reuters. "It`s such a money-making racket."
The scam is popular is because victims willingly hand over their credit card numbers, thinking they are purchasing legitimate software, and those credit cards can then be used at will.
Weafer also warned that Apple users, as they move their computer activities like storing photographs in remote servers managed by online companies, will have to take the same precautions that savvy PC owners have used for years to avoid identity theft. These precautions include keeping credit card and other key numbers secret and being suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true.
"It`s the notion of `I`m on a Mac`. Yes, you`re on a Mac, but you`re in the cloud," said Weafer. "They`ve got to be as careful as anybody else."
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