In news overnight, it was announced that two of the nastiest malware types we see in the Australian Internet Security Initiative (AISI)—Zeus and Cryptolocker—were disrupted by an international group of law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Federal Police.
Zeus is a type of malware used to enact fraudulent banking transactions. Cryptolocker is a type of ransomware that ‘locks’ devices and seeks a payment for a ‘key’, which may never be provided, to unlock files on the device.
This disruption provides a small amount of time, perhaps only two weeks, for action to be taken on devices that have been infected. The AISI provides information to 120 internet service providers on a daily basis about infections on their networks, which enables them to identify users who have infected devices and to help them resolve these issues.
All consumers, regardless of whether they have been infected, should take the following important steps to minimise their risk of becoming a victim:
- installing security software, including anti-virus software, and updating it regularly
- turning on automatic updates so all your software, including your operating system, receives the latest fixes and updates in a timely fashion
- setting strong passwords.
This latest effort highlights both the need for coordinated global efforts in the fight against malware, and the value of schemes such as the AISI that enable ISPs to help Australians reduce their risk of becoming an online victim.
It’s also a timely reminder of the value of online safety, as 2–6 June is Stay Smart Online Week. With a theme of ‘On the Go’, look out for a range of hints and activities on how to protect your personal and financial information when banking, shopping and socialising online.
If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the Stay Smart Online Week hashtag #SSOW2014.