In the age of information technology, consumers must exercise caution and take preventive measures to protect their computer systems against malware and hacking.
In his public lecture titled ‘Malware-proof Computing and Secure Data Communication’ at the main campus today, Prof Wolfgang A. Halang, Chair of Computer Engineering from Fern Universitat, Germany, said that even computer systems of big corporations are vulnerable to hacking. He cited the latest intrusion of Nissan’s website by the hackers group Anonymous.
He elaborated that malware or malicious software refers to intrusive or disruptive software like computer viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. He said that it is possible to build operating systems with adequate measures to thwart the threat of malware.
He mentioned a few solutions to prevent malware, such as memory segmentation. “To prevent malicious software to interfere with system and application programs, mass storage must be partitioned into at least two segments. At least one segment, particularly safety-related data and programs, must be equipped with a hardware-implemented write-protection. In further segments not protected this way, frequently changing data are stored.”
Another solution is context-sensitive memory allocation that protects data against programs trying to spy and modify by precluding any unauthorised access, he added. As a rule of thumb, he summarised that only computers adequately constructed right from the start are secure against attacks and intrusion.
His advice to consumers: “Present operating systems that you buy in the shop are not malware-proof unless consumers ask for it. People should buy computers that are specially designed to be malware-proof, such as classical mainframe computers, which have never been hacked. Banking is mainly run on mainframe computers.”
Finally, he also cautioned computer users to “Be careful, and do not go to strange websites, but one you know belong to serious companies. Also, do not exchange your USB sticks (pendrive) or use the sticks in any computer. The main step to protect your data is to ask for safe computers.”