Old malware dies hard

The online battle against computer worms and viruses gets more complicated every day. McAfee’s antivirus team tracks 125 to 175 new malicious codes every day. But a recent report shows that a lot of online attacks are threats we’ve known about for years but keep coming back.

Akamai’s study, which I talked about earlier today, also follows Internet attacks. By tracking how malware tries to infiltrate a computer, Akamai found that the “ports that see the highest levels of attack traffic [are the same ones that] were targeted by worms, viruses, and bots that spread across the Internet several years ago.”

Some of these might be new codes that are stuck on old tricks. Or, as Akamai notes, most of them are probably malicious files that should have been obsolete years ago, yet are still sneaking around in outdated computers.

“It may point to a large pool of Microsoft Windows-based systems that are insufficiently maintained, and remain unpatched years after these attacks ‘peaked’ and were initially mitigated with updated software.”

The lesson (and it’s an old one): Use an antivirus program and update it regularly. Malware, in its many forms, can compromise your personal information, slow down your machine by hogging processor power, and spread to other people's computers – where they can cause, causing the same havoc. Tom Regan, our personal tech columnist, recently wrote an article on free ways to protect your computer – and a real-world example of why it's important to do so. His suggestion: "Ad-Aware. (Just Google it.)"

Also check out:
Why I like some span in my e-mail
'Tis the season to be wary of e-cards
A quarter century of tech bugs

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