Malware: Top 5 reasons and what you must know

Our computer system is now similar to our body. Our body has certain weaknesses or vulnerabilities and you fix them by increasing your immunity. Similarly, our computer systems have weaknesses. What are the top few weaknesses or vulnerabilities and how do you fix them?

The top 5 vulnerabilities (or reasons) for the most infamous malware exposure (aka. malware attacks to happen) in 2012 are below. These are not necessarily in the order of vulnerabilities and these are based on my experience on SIEM and the root cause analysis of what led to the malware exposure. These might change as malware writers gets more sophisticated or malware reverse engineers moves more faster to fix them

  1. Java JRE
  2. Adobe Flash
  3. Adobe Reader
  4. Apple Quicktime - yeah, who would have guessed this?
  5. Microsoft Office
For the most part, the above 5 applications act as a host for external bodies similar to viral or bacterial attacks on our body.
How do we fix them?
We patch the above applications regularly with the most recent patches from the above applications. These patches will fix “buffer overflow” type language level vulnerabilities to ‘man in the middle’ type handshaking vulnerabilities - I know I have oversimplified here but this is just to give you some idea what these patches do.
In summary, malware is like bacteria or virus around us - its not fair to say, we can get rid of them however, we can reduce their existence. Similarly, we can reduce the existence of malware.

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