A look back at the malware tips and news of 2006

A trek back to January 2006 recaps the worm epidemic. Then we dredge up news about the growing threat of rootkits and recall our most popular tips from the past 12 months.

Nothing seems to make people ask the question "So, what's happened recently" like the approach of another January 1st. Sometimes maybe it's better to look back on the past than it is to make resolutions for the future, which we know we're going to break, like "I'm going to go to the gym more often" or "No more junk food, I swear!"

Yeah, right. Well, if everybody who makes those promises actually keeps them, then I promise to rid the world of malware. I will also cure the common cold and restore world peace.

Maybe we should take this one step at a time. Since I'm fairly certain I'm no miracle worker, I know I can't completely take malware off the map. What I can do though is recap the year in malware for you so that you can take a look back at what happened and better prepare yourself for 2007.

The worms of Winter

The year 2006 opened with a bang. Before the new year, iDefense Security Intelligence Services, a division of VeriSign Inc., predicted that a family of Sober worms was scheduled to launch on the fifth of January. There were also predictions of a potential superworm that exploited a Microsoft Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) flaw. While neither attack came to fruition, it was an interesting start for sure.

Superworms? Sober worms? Apparently January was a favorable month for conspiracy theorists who love worms. Three cheers for starting the year off strong.

One of the biggest stories of the year was probably Microsoft's acquisition of Winternals Software LP. Bringing in Mark Russinovich, considered one of the world's leading experts on rootkits, was a great move by Microsoft, as it assured us that the company has a malware authority working to help it deal with rootkits and other malware proactively instead of reactively. One concern when the deal broke was that the popular tools section of Sysinternals.com would no longer be available, but that does not seem to be the case.

In 2006, the growing rootkit threat began to steal malware thunder from more familiar foes spyware and viruses. Russinovich theorized that rootkits would someday be viewed in the same negative light as its malware brethren. Of particular concern is that several rootkits in the Windows enterprise live in the kernel and can skirt many of the system monitoring tools that many DBAs have in their anti-malware arsenals.

Of course, on SearchWindowsSecurity.com, we have more on malware than a collection of bad news. (Is bad malware news redundant? Anyway…) We also featured several tips designed to help you defend yourself and your users from different forms of malware.

Malware management tips from 2006

One of our most popular tips from the year was security threats expert Kevin Beaver's Malware removal handbook. With more than 18 years of IT experience, Kevin has compiled quite an arsenal that you can use to keep as much malware off your system as possible. With its collection of tools and tactics, the Malware removal handbook can serve as your guide to cleansing your network.

Of course, if you want steps on removing specific forms of malware, you could consult Kevin's four-step process on removing bots from your system or learn rootkit management tactics from Windows hardening expert Jonathan Hassell's tip: Rootkits: Managing the threat with prevention measures. You could even check out a tip called, Malware removal: Four simple steps, from yours truly. I might not have the credentials of Mr. Beaver or Mr. Hassell or even Mr. Belvedere, but I still have the scoop on getting malware off your system.

So that's 2006 in a nutshell. The end of 2006 means the beginning of 2007, which means another year of malware tips and news from SearchWindowsSecurity.com. And that means plenty of good reading for you! Thanks for the support over the year. Happy Holidays!

P.S. See you at the gym! ...maybe.

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