Perhaps in an attempt to keep up with Internet Explorer 9’s new security feature, or simply to keep its users motivated to choose them as their favorite search engine, Google rolled out a new advanced security safeguard last week.
This security feature, unlike previous ones that scan websites you visit for malware, actually alerts users about having previously installed malware on their computer. This is a specific type of malware that secretly steals all information users enter to the web, and can also edit information users receive back from the web, making it a highly serious security threat.
This form of malware is called the “man in the middle” attack, and works by transmitting all of your web use data through the hacker’s own Internet connection, letting him see everything that you, the victim, see and post to the web. And since the hacker is the one that gets the Internet data before you, and then sends it to you, he has the ability to change that information in any way he chooses.
The implications of this hack are that all of the information you enter onto the web: your e-mail usernames and passwords, personal information, videos, photos, and everything else, goes directly to the hacker first and then, if he feels like allowing it, to the original website you meant to send that data to.
All of the returning data also goes through the hacker first, giving him the ability to change everything that you see. For example, say you log into your online bank account. The hacker sees all of the login information, uses that information to access your account and take out all your money, and then alters the data that you get back to make it seem like everything is fine and no money has been in touched; providing a false sense of security for the user, when in reality their bank account has been completely emptied.
To ensure that you are not one of the unlucky users to fall prey to this attack, make sure that you have an Internet security/anti-virus program installed on your computer and that it also has the latest update. Also, if you do get the Google message saying that your computer appears to be infected, do not take it lightly, and make sure that fixing this problem is your highest priority, as it might expose all of your most sensitive data.
(Story & image via Search Engine Watch)