Cyber Security Tip: ST06-002 Debunking Some Common Myths


http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST06-002.html This link is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by or affiliation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

These are some of the common myths that still float around today. The tip was created in 2006.  Along with the five myths that Ms. McDowell wrote about, I would add a couple of more.

Myth: I only check my email and surf Facebook. I don’t surf porn sites or download music/videos, so I don’t need to protect myself. Truth: It’s not so much where you surf, as how well the people/organizations that developed the websites protected them from hacking. Facebook, for example, has viruses floating around in the form of videos, games, and other applications. Even law enforcement agencies have been hacked, because they didn’t protect against some of the more common attacks.

So,  you may be surfing to sites that should be safe–yet they may have malware installed on them without the owners knowledge.

Myth: I don’t run Windows, so I don’t need to protect my computer. Truth: Flashback worm, anyone? It’s not only the operating system that you have to worry about. The latest worms to affect the Apple Mac OS X operating system are Java-based attacks. That’s because Apple doesn’t update Java at the same time as Oracle. People running Linux, Windows, Solaris, and other operating systems weren’t affected by the worm for two reasons: 1. it was designed for OS X, and 2. Oracle had already updated Java months before this attack started.  Apple just chose to sit on their heels and not provide the update immediately.

The point is, no one is 100% safe from attacks–regardless of what operating system you run. That’s not to say that some of them are a lot less likely to be attacked. Just that it can happen, so you need to take precautions. And, the idea of “I won’t use an antivirus because it’s a waste of CPU cycles” is bull. Computers are fast enough now that the CPU cycles used are negligible. And if you’re running applications/games that are that CPU intensive, that’s an issue for the developer of the application/game–NOT the antivirus developer or you.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

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