Be it Trojans, keyloggers or spyware, ‘Crimeware’ represents a new type of threat to our security, posing new challenges for those tasked with fighting crime in the 21st century. Be aware.

What is crimeware?

Crimeware is malicious software that is covertly installed on computers. Most crimeware programs are in fact Trojans. There are many types of Trojans designed to do different things. For example, some are used to log every key you type (keyloggers), some capture screenshots when you are using banking websites, some download other malicious code, and others let a remote hacker access your system. What they each have in common is the ability to ‘steal’ your confidential information – such as passwords and PINs – and send it back to the criminal. Armed with this information, the cybercriminal is then able to steal your money.

How can I protect myself from crimeware?

There are several steps you can take to protect your computer from today’s cyber threats. Following the simple guidelines below will help minimize the risk of attack.

Protect your computer by installing Internet security software.

Install security patches for your operating system and applications. If you use Windows® simply switch on Automatic Updates. And don’t forget to update Microsoft® Office.

If you receive an email with an attached file (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, .EXE files, etc.) don’t open it unless you know who sent it and only then if you’re expecting it. NEVER open an attachment sent in an unsolicited (spam) email. The same is true for email messages or IM (Instant Messaging) messages that contain links.

Update your security software regularly (i.e. at least once a day).

Keep your other applications updated

Only use your computer’s Administrator account if you need to install software or make system changes. For everyday use, create a separate account with only limited access rights (this can be done through 'User Accounts' in 'Control Panel'). By doing this, you limit a malicious program’s access to valuable system data.

Backup your data regularly to a CD, DVD, or external USB drive. If your files become damaged or encrypted by a malicious program you can then copy them back from your backup.

To protect against malicious code and hacker attacks:

  • Install Internet security software.
  • Install security patches.
  • Be wary of unsolicited email or IM messages.
  • Be careful about logging in with Administrator rights.
  • Backup your data.