Malware and screen scraping: Double trouble?
There are plenty of threats that companies need to be made aware of. Malware and screen scraping are certainly two of them.
It seems that the two can even go hand in hand. Earlier this year, it was noted that once installed on a system, malware can carry out screen scraping activities. Three research scientists from Intel Labs, Ravi Sahita, Ulhas Warrier and Prashant Dewan reported in a Dr Dobb's article that malware can read an application screen buffer and then take data from it.
In this way, firms could be in for double trouble when it comes to mawlware and screen scraping. Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online, pointed out that those running commercial websites need to be well-protected against screen scraping activity as well as malware.
He explained: "Screen scraping is when somebody comes along and copies the whole of your website. They have the ability of stealing data from your website, or even impersonating you. You need to make sure you've got sufficient advice and software protection to make sure that sort of thing doesn't happen to you.
"One of the problems that you have with screen scraping is stealing people's intellectual property, so we need to safeguard ourselves against that."
He pointed out that screen scraping can also affect confidentiality, credibility and confidence issues with companies. So, it seems firms would be wise to protect themselves against any screen scraping activity, including any carried out by malware.
In general, Mr Neate commented, users need to make sure their computers are up to date in order to protect from such things as Trojans and Malware. The most current antivirus and antispyware software is required, he asserted, while application software should also be checked and up to date too.
"The main thing is not to be too concerned about what the different viruses and the Trojans are, but to make sure you are aware they are about and that you have sufficient antivirus, antispyware, anti-Trojan software that can deal with it," he added.
This coming holiday season is no time for companies to be slack with protection either, as there are many threats about, according to Andrew Klein, product manager at SonicWALL.
"We see malware and phishing attacks increase dramatically right before and right after the holidays. The hectic pace of the holiday season combined with the dramatic increase in online and in-store transactions strains the attentiveness of consumers making them susceptible to scams they normally would be able to identify," he said.
One of the top ten online dangers for the festive period comes from social media, Mr Klein commented. Users on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn may get some special holiday offers or games to play, which could actually be malware or a phishing attack, he warned.
In this case, Mr Klein continued, people should know who their friends are and who they can trust. Messages from people who do not fall into this category should be deleted, he advised.
He recommended that people should be wary of any email or social interaction that comes across as suspicious and should check if they are legitimate.
"Assume that email that either directly asks or indirectly asks for your account, financial, or identity information is fraudulent," Mr Klein added.
So, people looking to avoid any malware, such as that that carries out screen scraping, should remain as cautious as ever this coming Christmas.