The growth of malware – malicious software – has been exponential in recent years.  Previously, most hackers were computer geeks who launched attacks to show off their programming prowess.  While this type of hackers is still active today, more and more hackers are criminals spreading malware to make money. 

One example is the rogue anti-virus.  This attack involves a window opening up that says the computer has been infected and needs to be scanned – even though it’s probably not infected.  Once the user approves the scan, malware takes over the machine and won’t let users run programs until they buy bogus anti-virus software.  Of course the transaction requires users to provide their credit card details.  Once the hacker has your credit card number, he has all that he wanted.

Another example is ransomware.  In this case malware is deposited on the user's computer which encrypts important files such as documents and photos.  In order to be able to access

Internet security software providers find thousands of new malware threats per day.  Security experts say these threats point to a growing sophistication among cyber attackers who are seizing opportunities presented by the rise of social media and other Web-based personal communications. 

but now instead of coming only through email attachments, they‘re showing up on websites as well.  The main aim is to get the computer users to reveal sensitive information such as their credit card numbers or online banking passwords.  These scams are becoming more targeted and personal as cyber criminals perform reconnaissance on potential victims via social media sites.  These e schemes’ are known as spear phishing

 Another type of emerging threats is called exploits.  They take advantage of a vulnerability or bug in computer software – such as an internet browser_ to install malicious code.  That code can do such things as capture keystrokes when users pay bills online.  Or it can let the attacker control the computer remotely.  You don’t’ have to do anything.  It installs a Trojan on your computer allowing the remote attacker to control your machine.  Now your PC can do the attacker’s bidding. 

 A zombie network also can b e used in denial of service attacks – where hackers overwhelm a business’s website and cyber defenses by directing thousands or even millions of computers to contact the site sat the same time. 

 It’s always easier to attack than to defend.  The attacker only has to find one open window to get into your home, for example, while you need to secure 20 or 30 of them.