For example, a video website might ask you to install a codec, which is a small piece of information a video player needs to run on a website.You might be used to installing safe codecs, but it only takes one unsafe installation to compromise your machine, and your sensitive information along with it.Most people are unaware of the fact that you don’t have to intentionally download a malicious attachment in order to compromise your computer’s security.Malicious websites and drive-by downloads are just two ways that your security can become compromised by doing nothing more than visiting a website.This situation is going to get worse as the global economy declines.Since computers are used to store valuable information such as financial records, medical records, patents, trade secrets, classified military information, customer lists, addresses and email addresses, phone number, and social security numbers the total value of stored information is in the range of trillions of dollars.Capers Jones is Chief Scientist Emeritus of Software Productivity Research and author of numerous books on software engineering, including the upcoming "Best Practices in Software Engineering" (Mc Graw-Hill, 2009) on which this article is based. In fact as the global recession expands, the value of information is rising faster than the value of natural products such as metals or oil.
So you might be tempted by an offer of a “free security scan,” especially when faced with a pop-up, an email, or an ad that claims “malicious software” has already been found on your machine.
As the value of information goes up, it is attracting more sophisticated kinds of thievery.
In the past hacking and viruses were often individual efforts, sometimes carried out by students and even by high-school students sometimes just for the thrill of accomplishing the act.
However in today's world theft of valuable information has migrated to organized crime, terrorist groups, and even to hostile foreign governments.
Not only that but denial of service attacks and "search bots" that can take over computers are powerful and sophisticated enough to shut down corporate data centers and interfere with government operations.