Other malware code bears names that indicate it is for Firefox, Google Earth and Microsoft Security Essentials, Rains says. Some of the malware is disguised to look like video or music downloads, including songs by Lady Gaga, Pitbull and Maroon 5, as well as videos of "The Avengers," "Prometheus" and "The Hunger Games."
The malware can do a range of things from extracting personally identifiable information used to steal identities to stealing passwords for email and banking, he says.
To avoid falling victim, Rains recommends downloading only from trusted sites. "If you don't trust the site, don't trust the software," he says. Users should also follow standard safe practices such as keeping operating systems patched, updating antivirus software regularly, employing browser security, enabling firewalls, using strong passwords and never browsing when logged in as an administrator.
Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.