New Fears of Drive-by-Downloads

Hackers and spyware have been around on the Internet for ages, and it's common knowledge that those surfing the Web have to be careful around suspicious sites and downloads. But after reading about how a Web site run by the producers of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood", was a target for hackers, it seems that it's no longer enough just to be cautious around free-download and other suspicious sites.

And now, visitors don't even have to download anything to receive malicious software; just by visiting a Web site, the software is automatically downloaded onto the computer without the user's knowledge. With that software, the hacker can them implant a variety of programs to steal sensitive information and passwords, or turn the computer into a "botnet", a collection of terminals used for criminal purposes like scams or phishing.

Of course, users can protect themselves by keeping up to date with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software on their computers, as well as being careful of visiting sites that are flagged as potentially dangerous by search engines. But the idea of all types of popular sites being used for Drive-by-Downloads is disheartening, because it seems that it's much more difficult to avoid.

Nowadays, they number of sites turning up with suspicious material is quickly increasing, and it seems the only way to avoid them is to not go online at all. But in an age where email is a vital communication tool, and a bulk of activities are conducted online, that seems very unlikely. It's scary to think that just visiting your favorite site may infect you with a malicious spyware, but unfortunately, it's just part of the reality of having to deal with an increasingly digital age.

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