Malware is any software that presents victims with unwanted effects. Malware can spread in a variety of ways but has the same goal; altering the normal functioning of your computer. Malware such as Trojan horses, adware, spyware, botnets, ransomware, can have severe consequences for victims including identity theft and phishing. The spread, reasons for development, and ways to defend yourself from attacks are among what you need to know about malware.
How Malware Spreads
- Email – malware can find its way into your computer through opening attachments sent in the form of emails.
- Social media– you can be tricked into clicking alluring posts containing malware in social media circles.
- Outdated software – attackers can use the outdated software in your computer to find security loopholes that can help them gain access to your computer. Drive-by downloads – attackers can download malware in your computer without your knowledge, more so, if you visit sites containing malicious scripts.
- Online ads/ malvertising – attackers can exploit services such as links to trick you into winning promotional items to infect your computer with malware. Storage media – attackers, can make use of storage devices to store malware which is then transferred by unsuspecting users into their computers when they use the storage device.
Reasons for Creating Malware
- Profit-attackers use malware to extort money from their victims before removing the malware. Identity theft can be used to gain access to sensitive and private information such as access codes which can be used to commit fraudulent financial transactions.
- Digital goods theft-attackers use malware to steal digital goods such as cryptocurrencies and player tokens which are then sold for real-world money.
- Bring confusion- some malware creators want to cause chaos in critical sectors such as transport systems, financial institutions, and security management. They derive pleasure from overrunning safety features put in place and discovering potential loopholes that can be exploited in future.
Defenses Against Malware
You can defend yourself from malware threats by doing the following simple things:
- Install Anti-virus Software– anti-virus software secures your computer from becoming infected with viruses by erecting a shield against their dangers.
- Install ad blockers and refrain from clicking on ads
- Ad blockers help protect your computer from malvertising. Never click on ads since some disable ad blockers and it is hard to tell the genuine ones from the fake.
- Ensure your operating system is up to date to avoid becoming susceptible to attacks.
- Never use strange storage devices such as flash disks, DVDs, and CDs since they could be a ticking bomb waiting to be inserted into your computer.
- Take precaution during downloads by ensuring that the legitimacy of sites from where you are downloading files. Additionally, avoid downloading attachments from unknown sources.
- Avoid bootlegs. Avoid downloading pirated content since it is both illegal and can expose your computer to malware.