A Malware Threat Most People Are Unaware Of

By Posted 2012 Updated   ComputersGuest PostsSecurity

There is one malware threat that most people are not aware of and sadly, they get trapped by this threat. Easy access to the Internet enables some irresponsible people to spread malicious programs. And day after day, people are more aware of those threats. Computer security experts also have been teaching people how to prevent their computer from being infected.

computer malwareYou probably have known these practices: we shouldn’t open email spam and its attachment, only download software and game from trusted websites. You probably even know the most dangerous country domain name and the most dangerous search terms and that you should avoid them. But, sadly most people are still not aware with this malware threat.

So, what is the malware threat? It’s a malware that disguises as a video or audio codec. Suppose some people downloaded a video or audio from a website. Or they visited a video streaming website and they wanted to play a video player. But, they got a message that said they didn’t have the required codec or media player and that they needed to download and install them.

Malware examples and how they spread

Some computer and Internet security vendors released their reports, stated that this threat is a trend today. The rapid improvement of Internet that enables people to share multimedia files can be one of the culprits. People today can easily watch video streaming and enjoy TV programs from their computer and mobile devices.

According to GData statistics, from top ten malware threats in April 2012, the first and third places were belonged to malware that disguised as codecs. Both are Trojan.Wimad.Gen.1 and Trojan.Sirefef.BV.  Trojan Wimad.Gen 1 pretends to be  .wma audio file and it traps you to install a codec. Once you did it, the attacker can install any kinds of malicious codes to your computers.

While Trojan.Sirefef.BV pretends to be a legitimate file AFS2K.sys (Audio File System, Oak Technology Inc.). It infects browsers on the infected computers and manipulates search engine results whenever the users use the browsers to search something. The main purpose to lead users to click the infected search result and generates money for the attacker (by PPC ads).

From where are those codecs distributed? According to PCWorld.com, from 17 dangerous places on the Internet, the fifth and sixth positions belong to adult video streaming websites and peer-to-peer video streaming websites. The report said that the threat on adult video streaming sites is moderately dangerous. While the attack on peer-to-peer video streaming websites is very dangerous.

How to protect our computers:

There are several simple ways to protect our computers from this threat. Actually, these solutions have the same principles that you use for other threats.

1.  Install legitimate codec packs on your computer

There are many legitimate codec packs on the Internet available for you. You can download and install programs like K-Lite Codec Pack or Windows Essential Codec Pack. Instead of downloading unknown codecs from unknown website, try to download and install  one of these codec packages. If you already have one of those codec packages and you’re still asked to install a codec or media player, do a simple research on the Internet before you follow the request.

2. Avoid visiting dangerous websites

This is the basic and simple way: don’t visit either adult video streaming websites or peer-to-peer video streaming websites. And it’s better to visit legitimate websites such as Hulu.com or TV.com instead of those websites. If you can’t do that, visit them with a secondary computer. So, in other words you probably should have an additional computer that is meant for this purpose.

3. Power your computer with maximum protection

Install security add-ons on Firefox and Chrome. You can try to install WOT, AVG link scanner or McAfee Site Advisor. And of course, you should have an antivirus program that is being updated regularly.

If you download any file from torrent sites or video streaming sites, scan the file with your antivirus. And wait for several days. On the first scan, the file could look clean. But, some new malware are tricky and hard to be detected. Waiting for several days will allow your antivirus to get the signatures if the file is a malware.

I believe these steps are easy to apply. Have you ever experienced the threat above? Please share in the comments below.

This article is written by guest author Timothy Ario, a blogger and the owner of Freeware Catalogue. Visit the blog and get the latest giveaways, helpful tutorials and free software. Picture: ©Chohdra – morguefile.com

This is a guest article and represents opinions of the guest author

13 comments on “A Malware Threat Most People Are Unaware Of

  1. sheppo says:

    one of the biggest annoyances online at the moment, and the source of a lot of what would classically be called malware – more frequent ad ware, ransomware, trojans..

    they’re propagated by something appearing on THIS very page. Huge DOWNLOAD NOW adverts that link to malware taking overly prominent places on pages. For example, this page features a DOWNLOAD NOW advert taking up 80% of the browser window, it’s more prominent than your website banner.

    these ads usually link to something like iLivid, or promise the ability to download ‘torrent style’ movies ‘legally’, but offer nothing more than adware and ransomware. They’re the scourge of the internet now-a-days, and the practice needs to stop. Now.

    To make matters worse, these ads appear all over legitmate download sites for legitimate software and often confuse site owners in to clicking them because they’re larger and more in your face than actual download links for software you want.

    in reference to your actual article, the best way to avoid codec issues, use VLC (videolan.org) to watch movies instead of trying to get codecs to work in Windows Media Player, since it includes open source versions of all codecs in its own video player instead of installed system-level codecs, and thusly doesn’t require you to hunt for codecs online so you can watch your illegally obtained movies. :)

  2. ALANdigitaltvonyourpc says:

    G’Day! Quickonlinetips,
    Very interesting, It can be quite disappointing if a computer which used to run very fast suddenly starts running like a snail, restarting and freezing frequently. It can get more dangerous if you cannot remember what went wrong with the PC. All that you can remember is that while surfing the Internet you have clicked on some ads, which suddenly appeared on the screen of your computer. If that is the case, then your computer must be infected with spyware or a virus. But you do not need to be afraid at all, as there are a number of sophisticated virus removers available online which can keep the threat away from the PC and make it faster within a few moments. 
    Thx.

  3. gouthami.b says:

    Interesting post.Many of us unware of it.

  4. Timothy Ario says:

    @ALAN
    Yes, you’re right. We must be careful with what we download. There are some malware threats that disguise as fake antivirus and fake registry cleaner offer you free computer scan to ‘fix your computer problems’.

    @Gouthami.b
    I’m glad it was interesting for you. Yes, many of us unaware of this threat.

  5. V. Price says:

    Sorry, but you lost me here:
    “As we know, the presence of the Internet and personal computer several decades ago enable some irresponsible people to spread malicious programs.”
    There are so many things wrong with this sentence that I don’t even know where to begin. I find it difficult to take you seriously after that. If English is not your first language, then disregard my comment and have a good day.

  6. Timothy Ario says:

    @ V.Price
    Yes, English is not my first language. I’m sorry that the first sentence confused you and you couldn’t take me seriously after that. But, I hope the other readers still can enjoy and understand that.

  7. sambee says:

    Like anyone is actually going to dl a torrent and wait days to play it?

  8. Timothy Ario says:

    @Sambee
    They mostly are not. But, I think it’s a good practice. If you really care about your security, why don’t you try?

  9. Emmanuel Uduezue says:

    Hi, Thanks for sharing this information. This article is helpful especially for those bloggers who publish video and audio based blog posts in their blogs.

  10. Pradeep says:

    Nice blogs on malware protection, it is very helpful for the protection from malware.

  11. danhid says:

    Great article written by a guest writer. I consider to protect my computer as well as stated above. So meaningful!

  12. Pradeep Kumar says:

    Nice blog and thanks for this security tips.

  13. Fahim Zada says:

    good article :)

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