In the past, a piece of computer malware was a simple thing. It was something that was created to cause havoc and if you were unlucky it did. And then we came up with software protection and that helped put an end to the simple malware attacks. But instead of stopping in their tracks, the bad guys decided that they had to get smarter as well. So they moved up the level of sophistication that their malware was made up of. And with that began the great cyber war that we are witnessing now. The bad guys step up their game and the good guys do the same. And now with entire countries getting into the act there is no telling how this is going to end up. Now there is serious money being poured into the ‘cyber war‘ and that means that there is going to be some serious weapons on the front lines.
One of the newest wrinkles in this new battle is how cyber attacks actually happen. In the past the piece of malware would look at the operating system that you are using and they would plan the attack in that manner. Attacks against Windows would not work with Apple products, and attacks against Apple products would not work against Linux products. And attacks made for either Apple or Linux products would not work against Windows based operating systems. But now the game has changed and the attackers are not just looking at the operating systems any more. The operating system vendors have increased the level of security that is on their products. That means that it is a lot harder to get in than it was in the past. So instead the attackers do something a little bit different and instead they attack the applications that are installed on the operating system.
The actual software that we use is a lot bigger these days than in the past. As a matter of fact the average install of Photoshop is probably bigger than the entire Windows operating system from just ten years ago. But since applications are so much bigger now, that also means that there is also a greater introduction of bugs. And since that is the case, it also means that instead of trying to attack bugs in the operating system, the bad guys can attack bugs that are in the applications instead. And this technique really has been working for the black hat hackers out there. Sometimes the bugs are introduced because of the applications itself and sometimes the bugs are introduced because of the programming language that was used to create the application. We see that happen in some Java based applications in the past year.
That is exactly why we see more and more updates for normal applications. These are security updates and they are a must in this day and age. If you are not updating your application then you are leaving your computer open to attack.
It really does not matter if you are on a server or if you are on a normal computer. The bad guys are going to try their best to get on your system. And now they are using alternative routes of attack instead of just holes in your operating system. Now they are going after the holes that are in your application and that is why you should be sure that you keep them updated at all times.
photo: Randy Son Of Robert