You can pick up a ZeuS infection through a drive-by download from a malicious Web site or from a perfectly valid site that's been hacked. Clicking a link in an innocent-looking e-mail could open your system to attack. This past week saw a spate of false LinkedIn connection requests associated with ZeuS. Yes, smart users never click links in mail from strangers. Smarter users even avoid links in mail from friends, since the real source of the message could be a virus on the friend's system. But being careful just isn't sufficient.
You may picture the effects of a Trojan or virus attack as limited to your computer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The threat commonly called ZeuS or ZBot is just one tool of an international cybercrime ring with one goal—to steal your money. Though quite a few were charged with serious crimes on Thursday, others remain at large. And of course the malicious code is still circulating.
For full protection against all possible infection vectors you absolutely need to install a security suite on any computer that has Internet access. And because the bad guys are constantly releasing new variants of ZeuS, you want a suite whose antivirus protection isn't limited to known threats. The statistical detection used in Norton Internet Security 2011 is especially effective against brand-new variants.
If you remotely access accounts with massive balances you may want to add yet another protective layer. SafeCentral 2.6 offers a secure browser that's isolated from other activities on the computer. It should allow fully secure access to sensitive sites even on an infected system. The Safe Run for Web sites feature in Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 works the same way. Kaspersky is also a good overall choice for security suite protection.
ZeuS hasn't spread to every computer in the world. Yours might not get hit. The question is, do you feel lucky? Accessing your finances online without security protection is a losing gamble—heads, you gain nothing, tails you lose your money. Armor up!