Cyber Security Awareness: The Price Of Free In The World Of Malware

If you are a marketer then you already know that your number one job is to be able to get people’s attention. It doesn’t matter if they are driving, reading a magazine, or surfing the web. You have to be able to take whatever that persons doing and for a few seconds make it secondary. If a person is driving and they have their radio on, then you have to get their attention without making them crash. If a person is reading a magazine then you have to be able to get their attention without disrupting the story too much.

Are you cyber security aware?

Most experienced marketers know that there is one word in the world that will always get a person’s attention. And that word is free. People always like to pay attention when they hear that something is going to be free. They will be cautious about the product and start to look for the loop holes but you will be able to get at least a little bit of their attention with the word. And for good marketers that little bit of attention is all that they need.

But it is not only marketing that the word free is used to entice people. No, in the world of online malware distribution the word free is very powerful. It is the show stopper if you are a black hat hacker who is trying to get their malware spread around. But this is the same with crimes in real life as well. When a person does a Bernie Madoff type scam, some people wonder how they are able to pull it off. They are able to do this because they use the promise of unheard of riches. In other words the victims want to be able to get a free ride.

The biggest way that the bad guys are able to distribute their malware is through the use of pirated software and music. These are items that people will try to get all of the time. So much so, that they will not take the time to see if the pirated item is safe or not. All a black hat hacker has to do is to label the file as something else and they have the person trapped. The person who is looking to get a free copy of the latest Adele album will instead come away with much more than they bargained for.

But pirated files are not the only way that malware is distributed over the internet. As a matter of fact it is not the only free item that has malware in it. There are some items that are offered as free legally which have malware in it as well. The items can be of anything. It can be free legal music files, free wallpaper for your computer screen, or even a free piece of software that you need.

This all points to that you have to be really careful when you are talking about files such as this. This is where your antivirus program should come out of hiding. Ironically, your antivirus software is probably one of the items that you have on your computer that is legally free but is also saving your butt at the same time. But if you are grabbing an item that is free, legally or not, then you should really make sure that you run a scan on it. But hopefully this doesn’t scare you too much – 90% of the free items that you download from the internet are going to be problem free – it is that other 10% that you have to worry about.

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About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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