Only six years after the first personal computer was introduced in 1975, the world was introduced to the very first computer virus: Elk Cloner. It was written to infect the Apple LLC's operating system, known then as Apple DOS 3.3. Once the virus was triggered, it displayed a poem explaining how Elk Cloner was copying itself all through the victim's machine and that it may be no easy task to reverse its effects.
It did not take long, however, for people to start pushing the limits past simple pranks and start making malicious software designed as actual attacks against their victims. In the early 1990s, for example, malware authors were learning the art of evasion. They understood that they could now benefit from hiding malware inside documents instead of just supplying their victims with more obvious standalone executables. By the mid-2000s, more than a million known computer worms were circulating around the Internet. Email spam was also becoming big business as malware authors stood to make serious cash by blasting out unsolicited email, "spam," and getting just a percentage of users to buy their goods or click on links. And by 2010, Stuxnet was introduced to the masses followed by spin-offs that included Duqu, Flame and the Regin Trojan. The point is that malware has evolved from attacking individual users to gaining entry to tens of thousands of people's banking information.
While technology and personal habits mature with each new cyber attack, the threats lurking around the corner do the same at a seemingly uneven pace. Because we can't predict exactly what's ahead, Fred Touchette, senior security analyst at AppRiver, has identified tips and best practices to prepare for ever-changing and always evolving malware threats.
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