In this day and age, protecting your devices against cyberattacks is a necessity. Not only does this prevent damage to your computer, but it also protects your private and sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Suppose you’re looking for an effective cybersecurity solution. In that case, you can check out TotalAV software for Mac or Windows, or read reviews on other programs such as Kaspersky, Avast, or Bitdefender, etc. Nevertheless, knowing the enemy is another way to prevent harm.
What is malware?
Simply put, malicious software (malware) are programs that are designed to harm your computer or steal your private information. When your device has been infected, you will notice a decline in performance or a system crash.
In this regard, the question “How do you get infected with malware?” is vital. The answer is simple. Your device can be affected by malware e.g., when you follow an infected link, advert, or open a spammed email. In general, the method will depend on the type of malware.
Types of malware
There are numerous types of malware which are:
These are a type of malware that can replicate to spread to other devices. They often use networks and exploit security failures to move from one computer to another. Once they have breached into a computer, they will use it as a host to scan and infect other devices linked to it.
The term adware is an ellipsis for advertising-supported software. This software is responsible for the annoying pop-up ads that you see when browsing on the internet. To be safe, you should never click on any suspicious adverts. When you click, you will consent malware to be downloaded into your computer.
Spyware is not a technical word, but rather a catch-all term for all kinds of programs such as riskware, adware, and Trojans. Spyware is used to monitor your activities online and steal your data, such as logins.
Just like worms, viruses are malicious software that can self-replicate and spread to other computers. The difference with worms is that for a virus to work, it needs to be activated. The host file needs to be launched to unleash the malicious code into the system.
Ransomware is programs that are used by hackers to block you from having access to your files or device. They will hold them ransom and demand to be paid to restore your access.
This is a program used by cybercriminals to avoid detection when breaching into a computer. The program will buy them time to steal whatever they want stealthily.
- Trojan horse
A Trojan horse is a malicious program that disguises itself as an ordinary program or just another file but carrying out harmful operations underground. When you’re downloading it, you won’t easily know that it’s malware.
How to prevent malware attacks
Today, malware threats have increased as more and more people store their personal data online. For this reason, it’s essential to know some of the things you can do to protect your devices.
Use antivirus protection
For adequate protection, you can use a paid antivirus program. After careful selection, you can get one that gives you real-time protection. Real-time protection means it will automatically scan your computer to find potential threats before they have caused harm. And also, the antivirus will protect your data through sophisticated encryption tools.
Download applications from trusted sites
Downloading software, apps, or media files from trusted sources minimizes the risk of infection by malware. If you need mobile applications, you can download from the likes of Google Play Store (for Android devices) or App Store (for Apple devices). When you do so, you won’t download malware by accident.
Read developer descriptions
Sometimes malware-infected software can escape and find their way on reputable sites. This means you also have to read the description of a program before you make an installation. When you do so, you will know the function of the program and the developers’ information. To verify the legitimacy of the developer, run a quick search online for their background information.
Read user reviews
It would be best if you read the reviews made by other users of the program you want to install. However, before believing what the reviews say, analyze to see if they are legitimate. Sometimes hackers forge reviews to lure users into downloading malware. You have to be thorough in your verification.
Tip: Programs/ applications that get only glowing praises and never bad reviews should be treated as suspicious. Under normal circumstances, there should be a mix of bad and good review points.
Do not follow unverified links
It’s essential to drop the habit of following unverified links in messages, spam emails, or on websites. When you click on infected links, you may trigger an automatic download of the malware. And also, do not give out your bank logins over email. If you receive an email asking you for this kind of information, contact your bank and verify if the request is legitimate.
Update your operating system (OS) and applications
You should keep your programs and OS up-to-date. This enables you to have stronger security from the latest updates. When you don’t make updates, malicious software exploits the loopholes that develop in your software.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi
Try not to use free Wi-Fi in public places such as cafés or parks. This exposes you to hackers, who are frequently in these areas, to steal your sensitive data and banking information. Hackers can easily get remote access to your device if you’re connected on the same network. If you can’t resist using public Wi-Fi, then make sure you have a security solution that has a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Avoid using unknown USBs
Don’t plug USB devices you’re not familiar with. Some could be infested with malware that can make you lose everything.
It’s possible to prevent attacks by malicious software. You simply have to install useful antivirus software and drop bad habits that expose you to attacks. Additionally, your device operating system (OS) and programs have to stay up-to-date to minimize loopholes for invasion.