Latest virus attack vectors

August 16, 2008 at 12:54 am 1 comment

According to some stats I ran across the other day, the latest trend in virus attacks appears to be the web browser.  They attempt to exploit holes in various browsers to download and install malware on your machine.  Some even send their payload in image files.  Usually, these malware packages end up installing more malware, cloging your machine until it crawls.

How to combat this?  Many would say to simply make sure your A/V software and definitions are always up to date.  While this is generally good advice, many people have older machines that modern A/V software bogs down, or if there are several machines involved, cost may be an issue.  For that matter, just keeping up with it is more than a lot of people have time for.

My solution?  Virus scanning at the gateway.  Last week, I ran a short test where my machine was pointed to a proxy server.  This proxy did nothing more than ran a virus scan against every web page and image from the web.  If it detected malware, it alerted me.  (You can always test against the Eicar virus test code.)

Now, since I run a Mac as my main machine, I’m not terribly concerned about malware, but I know that Macs are becoming a larger target.  Since I don’t particularly trust Mac A/V software to be up-to-date (since so little is targeting that platform, those guys are probably a bit bored in their day-to-day work), gateway scanning is probably the best option.

I plan to look very closely at this in the next week or so.  I have been thinking about getting a 1.6 Ghz Atom and running a Linux distro called “Untangle” on it.  The new Atom motherboard and processor can be had for about $70.  Add a stick of memory, a hard drive, and plop it into any normal case (according to what I’ve read), and you’ll end up with a very nice embedded-type appliance.

Untangle is a very nice looking package.  It is basically a router/firewall/proxy/virus scanner.  From what I’ve read on the forums, some people are using this on fairly large networks, so it would probably be fine running for most any home network.  I’ve not dug into it to the point that I’m quite ready to put it in place, but I’m getting there.

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Entry filed under: General, Networking.

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