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Latest Computer Worm Attack is Reminder of Need for Security

In what could be a sign of things to come for 2012, researchers at an Israeli firm recently reported the discovery of a variant of the computer worm Ramnit, which proceeded to steal more than 45,000 Facebook users’ credentials.

According to reports, the worm primarily targeted British and French users, infecting some 800,000 machines over a fourth-month period in the latter half of 2011. The main goal behind the worm is to target online banking information of individuals.

First identified in the spring of 2010, Ramnit originally infected HTML and Windows executable files to swipe browser cookies and stored FTP credentials.

According to security firm Seculert, attackers last summer used bits and pieces of the leaked Zeus Trojan’s source code to come up with a “hybrid creature” that enabled hackers to spread and steal on a large scale. Seculert officials believe that hackers “are taking advantage of the fact that users tend to use the same password in various Web-based services (Facebook, Gmail, Corporate SSL VPN, Outlook Web Access, etc.) to gain remote access to corporate networks.”

Security experts point out that the latest round of hacking points to the importance of the risks involved in having multiple-use passwords, along with the need for selecting different, hard to crack passwords.

If your computer efforts to secure your data are not up to speed, the start of the New Year is a great time to review them.

Among the items to remember are:

  • Hackers generally attempt to break into a computer or secure account by guessing passwords individually. Automated programs can also be used time and time again to guess passwords from a database of oft-used words or other details;
  • The majority of passwords are case sensitive; therefore users should use this to their advantage in defeating hackers.  Experts recommend users capitalize the first letter, every other letter, or some similar, memorable arrangement. Keyboard symbols such as ampersand, pound, percent and others are permitted in the majority of passwords, and are not often guessed, so these are good to use. Users are advised to always use at least six, but ideally eight or more characters in a password, with at minimum one number;
  • The number one gaffe to avoid when creating a password is using the word password. As you and hackers might guess, this password is quite simple to break. Users are advised to stay away from employing any form of their network login, their own names, birth dates or any other personal details that someone may be able to associate with them. Also, do not jot down passwords and leave them on a piece of paper sitting by one’s computer etc.

While most computer users will not have issues with hacking during their time on the Internet, it is best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so that hackers don’t get the upper hand.

Dave Thomas, who covers among other items starting a business, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.

 Latest Computer Worm Attack is Reminder of Need for Security
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project, MyBlogGuest.com.
 Latest Computer Worm Attack is Reminder of Need for Security