With the ever increasing threat of mass malware being installed on your PC how can we protect ourselves from being susceptible from attack? When people think of protection against malware they normally think of anti-virus/anti-spyware software. The problem with anti-virus software is twofold: First it’s a very reactive approach that waits for an attack to happen before reacting, and secondly its detection rate on malware is exponentially getting lower.
In order for malware to be installed on a system there normally needs to be a vulnerability open to allow the malicious software access. So if we know where we’re vulnerable we could potentially stop the bulk of malware from being installed in the first place. The majority of threats being exploited from the internet are surprisingly not on the operating system level, but at the application/plug-in level.
So now that we know what the problem is how do we proactively stop malware from being exploited on our system? Two companies are offering free tools that can scan your workstations for installed application/plug-ins that are vulnerable to known threats, and link you to the patches needed for remediation.
These two companies are Secunia and Qualys, and the links to their free software is below. These free tools allow you to take a proactive approach to fighting malware by fixing the unpatched exploits mass malware is using to infect the majority of systems today.
This is by no means an end all be all way to stop malware from being installed, but it sure helps. Proactively using these tools coupled with anti-virus will give you the best protection from being infected by malware.