A Study About Malware Prevention Methods Computer Science Essay

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Cyberspace is the virtual space created by joining the computers. This space is similar to the real world except that there are no real movements. In this space people can exchange the data, explore the new things, and can even use this space for entertainment. All these make cyberspace very important and there are countless websites where people can explore almost anything. Cyberspace can also be misused in many ways.

One of the biggest threats is the virus programs. There are many different kinds of virus programs that infect the cyberspace and destroy the personal data. These virus programs are distributed through emails and other shared data.

One of these viruses is malware also known as malicious software. Malwares are designed to access the personal information of a system without the consent of the owner. These include trojans, adwares, spywares and other unwanted programs. The designers of this kind of software want to gain financially rather than just creating havoc. The damage caused by malwares has a worldwide economic impact and it has been rising at an alarming rate. These damages are the costs incurred to clean the infected systems, loss of time, reduced system performance.

The Problem:

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is buying and selling of goods and services over the internet or any computer networks. The total trade done on e-commerce has grown vastly over the recent years. Because of e-commerce many big companies have entered the World Wide Web and they are selling their goods online. One of the major problem that e-commerce is facing today is the malwares.

Some of these unwanted programs are written in such a way that, if a user tries to search for a product on any search engine it would redirect the user to some paid advertisements instead of guiding him to the correct link which the user needs. This annoys the user and he might end up not buying the product over the internet, which is a loss. This is known as malvertising.

Once the computer is infected, the spammer uses the infected computer to send out the spam messages thereby hiding his real identity. These infected computers are known as Zombies. Spammers also target anti-spam organizations using denial of service attacks.

Mobile commerce is an extension of electronic commerce, in which the consumer makes the purchase through this mobile phone. Mobile commerce is very convenient in a way that the buyer can buy anything that is available on the internet at any time, by using his mobile phone to log on to the internet. Even though mobile commerce has a vast potential, there are several limitations to it. One of the major limitations is the malware.

In 2001 a hacker in Japan send a malicious email to 13 million users, that malicious email would take over the recipient's phone and would automatically dial Japan's emergency hotline number thereby creating chaos. DoCoMo fixed the problem soon and no damage was done.

A recent study in the Netherlands found out that there was a bug in the Nokia phones, using this bug hacker could send a malicious sms that would crash the mobile phone.

In 2004 a virus named Canbir was developed that could spread through the mobile phones. This virus was developed by a group that wanted to prove that no system is hacker proof. But this virus was never launched. The above three examples demonstrate the potential threat caused by the malwares. These could result in the dissatisfaction of the customer.

Solutions:

There are anti-malware programs that combat the malware in two different ways. In the first case a computer is monitored continuously so that no malicious software is installed on the computer and all the incoming data across the network is being scanned for the malwares. In the second case anti malwares programs work on detection and removal of the malwares that are already installed on the computers. These programs scan all the registry files, operating system files and the installed programs.

Updating the software's:

Most of the malware programs are poorly written, so one basic action to prevent these malwares by constantly updating the operating systems that are being used. Many malwares are written in such a way that they make us of the loopholes in the operating systems, so by upgrading the operating systems to the latest version available the spread of malwares can be controlled.

Firewalls:

One way of the knowing if the computer is being infected by a malware is by using the firewalls. Any malicious software that that passes through the defenses and infects the computer can be known with the help of a firewall. For example there are some dialer malwares and if the dialer malware tries to call any connection the user would be notified by the firewall and the dialer malware can be blocked from using the internet. Many firewalls also give the exact location of the malware thereby helping the user in removing them. One disadvantage with the firewalls is that they do not know the difference between useful programs and malicious programs, so whenever any program tries to access the internet the user is being notified and there is every chance that the user may block a useful program.

Use of advanced internet browsers:

Internet explorer is most vulnerable to the malwares. Many people use internet explorer to browse the internet. So by upgrading the internet browsers to the latest versions like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera which can handle the malwares better, we can prevent the spread of the malwares.

Vulnerability Scanners:

This is a tool that scans the computer, computer networks and the installed applications for any weakness. There are many scanners available but their main functionality to enumerate the vulnerability. These scanners check the open ports to a computer, generally the malicious software's attack through these open ports. These scanners detect the applications that are running through these open ports.

Using Squid Proxy Layers:

Malwares make the computer unbearably slow in addition to all the other things. One of the better ways to prevent the malwares is by blocking them before they reach the target system. A proxy server is an intermediate server between the clients and other servers. These servers speed up the access to the main servers. To this proxy server ACL (Access Control List) with the list of all the available malware URL's can be added. When the user tries to access any malware URL, a warning message would appear on his screen and thereby the malwares can be blocked.

Wireless Communication:

In any Wi-Fi network the signals are transmitted in open air. This poses a new challenge for the security of those signals. These signals can be easily intercepted and manipulated in such a way that they can carry malicious information instead of useful information. So the signals must be encrypted before transmission. After these signals are received the original message can be retrieved by the use of decryption tools. Wireless transport layer security protocols must be used in wireless communication and SIM based authentication must be used for mobile communication.

To prevent the spread of cell phone viruses, cellphone manufacturers have developed an operating system that is built into the hardware of the cellphone. So there is no need for the cellphone to store any application, this makes the cellphone incapable of spreading any infected programs.

Conclusion:

Finally there is a need of good education about these malwares so as to protect a system.

The spread of these malwares for various financial reasons has become an organized internet crime. Many systems in the network may be infected by the malwares; there is no way that we can cut off these systems from the network. So there is a need of efficient malware removal tools and some good measures to tackle this menace. And by controlling these malwares a lot of money and time can be saved.

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