At present, the hacker black market is paying $100 per thousand hacked Australian computers. That's correct, there is a black market for hacked computers, and Australian computers are fetching top dollar, compared to other countries. Why do you think that Australian computers are getting top dollar? It's because we are easy targets as most of you don't take computer security seriously enough, plus being an affluent country, the hackers can make better money from a hacked Aussie.
You could argue the affluent part, depends on whether the banks get to your money before the hackers do 😉 You can secure your computer with all the modern, up-to-date security tools, but if you don't follow safe practices, you're very likely to get hacked or ripped off. It's just like driving a new car, with all the latest safety features, air bags and intelligent breaking systems, if you drive dangerously, you're more likely to crash and get injured. You need to use some common sense on the Internet, and stay away from sites that are notorious for hacking visitors computers, pornography, software cracks, copy violated music sharing and movie sites etc.
One other major new treats used by hackers is to break in though security holes in web browsers. This poses a serious threat to all operating systems Windows, Apple and Linux. This article reinforces what I have been trying to get across to everyone.
They can use malicious scripts hidden in web pages to exploit vulnerabilities in any web browser, being used on any OS. The way to defend yourself against this sort of threat is to turn off all scripts. Unfortunately scripts are so wide spread that if you do this you can lose a lot web page functionality. Alternatively you can use the the Mozilla Firefox web browser downloadable from here, http://www.mozilla.com and install a Firefox Add-on called “NoScript”, this will effectively block all scripts in pages you visit. You then use NoScript to choose when to allow scripts.
Once Mozilla Firefox is downloaded and installed on your computer, and you are connected to the Internet, click on the menu item “Tools”, and in the pop down box, click “Add Ons”. When an “Add-ons” box appears, click on the “Get Add-ons” tab. (Right click next to the last open tab open in Firefox if you can't see the "Menu bar", and tick "Menu Bar" in the pop up box that will appear, to turn it on.)
In the search box at the top left of this box, type in “NoScript” and click the “Search” button, then when the NoScript add-on description appears click its “Install” button. The NoScript extension will be installed. Once it is installed, you will need to shut down, and re-open the Firefox browser before NoScript will become active.
(When you re-open Firefox I suggest you read the information about NoScript that will appear in a tab window in Firefox.)
After installing NoScript, go to "Tools" "Add-ons" menu item in Mozilla Firefox. The menu bar is at the top of the Firefox open window. Find NoScript in the "Extensions" list under Add-ons, and click on NoScript's "Preferences" button. Now click on the "Appearance" tab and click on the "Status Bar" box. Now when you visit web pages a status bar will appear at the bottom of the Firefox browser window. In the status is bar a NoScript "Options" button will be located in the bottom right hand corner. The Status bar will also show how many scripts are in the page that are being blocked
Blocking all the scripts will speed up your web surfing because you will not need to wait until the all the fancy stuff loads. It will also mean you will need to make wise decisions on when to allow scripts in web pages. I suggest not allowing any scripts in pages unless you really need the service. For instance, if you go to your web bank service with NoScript you will not be able to log in until you tell NoScript to “Allow the bank site”, by clicking on the NoScript Options button. So login boxes for services, plus Flash, Silverlight, and Java scripts will be blocked until you click the NoScript allow site, or temporary allow option, when visiting any site. If you use it with another Firefox Add-on WOT, (Web Of Trust) a web site rating service it can make those decisions easier to make.
Statistically 1 in 9 web sites are dangerous at present! Statistically 1 in 9 web sites are dangerous at present! So using NoScript wisely can provide more protection, no mater what operating system you use!
© 2010 Peter Daley,
Disclaimer: This is an amateur volunteer run service. Human error can provide incorrect information, and equipment malfunction can produce false readings. Do not rely on, or take action upon information presented on this web site or at SCCC activities, without further research. Views expressed in the pages, images, or tutorials on the SCCC Inc., web site or presented at venues, maybe the personal opinions of the relevant writers or presenters, and are not necessarily representative of those of SCCC Inc.