Panda Software, a respected vendor of antivirus software applications within the technical community, has named a Trojan, Downloader.GK, as the most malicious virus of 2004. Even though Downloader.GK isn’t technically a virus, an application that independently distributes itself, the program has caused the most damage to users’ computers, according to data collected by Panda Software’s ActiveScan process.
Until now, the first place award had been earned by a computer worm; however, Downloader.GK was responsible for 14 percent of all digital attacks, last year.
We may see this as an oppugnant award, encouraging us to take retribution; however, much of the responsibility for this Trojan’s efficacy falls on our shoulders. Downloader.GK requires unsuspecting users to visit an affected webpage and accept installation of a specific ActiveX control before the program modifies the computer’s Windows system registry. The payload is a set of adware programs.
We can be proactive in preventing the spread of this type of malware by being cautious of the sites we visit, never opening an e-mail attachment that we don’t expect, keeping our antivirus applications up to date and set to maximum security, using a software and, if possible, hardware firewalls, and, finally, using a third-party web browser that’s more secure, such as Opera or Firefox.
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