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How to avoid malware
Malware, which is short for “malicious software,” is a category of computer programmed intended to harm a legitimate user’s computer in a number of different ways after infection. Malware can attack computers and other devices in a variety of ways and takes many different forms, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and more. All users need to be able to identify malware in all of its guises and defend themselves.
What is malware?
Any malicious programmed or code that is destructive to systems is referred to as malware, or “malicious software under this general phrase. Malware is abrasive, invasive, and purposefully bad software that attempts to penetrate, harm, or degrade computers, computer systems, networks, tablets, and mobile devices. It often does this by gaining a small amount of control over the operations of a device. Similar to how disease affects people, it obstructs everyday activities.
Malware is used for a variety of reasons. Malware can be used to steal money from you, to make you less productive, to make a political statement, or even just for bragging rights. With one known exception—see the Google Android section below—malware cannot physically harm systems or network equipment, but it can steal, encrypt, or wipe your data and modify or hijack fundamental computer operations.
What types of malwares exist?
The key malware categories that all cybersecurity experts should be familiar with are covered in the list below.
Viruses: The most well-known type of malware, viruses operate quite similarly to their biological namesakes. They have the ability to spread throughout the system, infect an endpoint, and alter how it functions.
Worms: Worms replicate, propagate, and infect network endpoints in a manner reminiscent of viruses. They are particularly dangerous because, unlike viruses, they can propagate unhindered by a program or user action.
Ransomware: This increasingly common malware employs encryption to prevent authorized people from accessing their devices, systems, or data. If their demands are not satisfied, the attacker will not transfer control back to the legitimate users.
Spyware: Spyware is a type of harmful software that may track user activities, including individual keystrokes, and steal data. For instance, information gathered by spyware may be beneficial or even help in getting access to the system when login credentials are taken.
How to avoid Malware attacks
To prevent malware from spreading within their company, cyber security professionals should implement security software, good password practices, multi-factor authentication, employee education, and micro-segmentation technology. In addition, they want to mandate secure email and web browsing, update IT hardware and software, and uninstall unused programs. Effective malware prevention requires a coordinated effort from many different parties.
Let’s now examine each of these best practices for preventing malware one by one.
Only employ reputable antivirus and malware programs.
Most people today use antivirus and malware detection software when using computers, cellphones, or tablets. Digital Journal’s analysis shows that in 2017, only 27% of Windows workstations lacked protection. However, not all of those customers work with a respectable or well-known vendor.
Despite costing a little more than self-described “free antivirus” programs, Norton, Kaspersky, Comodo, AVG, Avast, and Webroot antivirus programs have a long reputation for being reliable and effective at spotting security risks.
Free antivirus software is available for download online, but do you really want to entrust your computer to just any program? Furthermore, a lot of free antivirus software comes pre-installed with spyware, which is itself a potentially unwanted program.
When compared to the potentially harmful crypto jacking or hijacking that could take place on your own devices, purchasing high-quality antivirus software is a small investment. A good antivirus program can be quite helpful in locating and removing malware, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t maintain it and keep all your other programs updated.
Update your Operating System
Each of the big software vendors has its own operating system and antivirus protection. Yet they still need to perform updates frequently to fix recently identified vulnerabilities. Although you might think that updating and restarting your system are not important, you should realize that these upgrades are made to lessen your vulnerability to potential exploits.
New patches are continuously released by security teams to address malware threats and zero-day vulnerabilities. Your computer is at risk of getting infected with malware if you keep using an outdated operating system and ignore repeated requests to upgrade. The equivalent of learning your in-laws are visiting is receiving a computer update message.
Stay away from suspicious connections.
Most malware has to be downloaded and installed by clicking on something. Frequently, these links are presented as something they are not. If you are aware of how dubious a link could seem, you can avoid it. The following are a few examples of misleading links that conceal virus downloads: As in the example below, website advertisements may look like system alerts or diagnostics informing you of a problem with your device.
- Malware ads might resemble notifications informing you that you have won something and telling you to click to claim it.
- Oftentimes, pop-up windows attempt to redirect you to a malicious website or a less secure one. Websites you can trust rarely use pop-up windows.
- If you are prompted to download something unexpectedly or if it looks unrelated to the page you were on, it is likely malware.
- The phrase “clickbait” is used to describe headlines that confuse and intrigue you and make you want to click to read more. Websites with a lot of clickbait titles are more likely to have links to malware.
Determine suspicious websites.
Close a website or download if you have any doubts about its security, then look into it before visiting it again. It’s wise to use caution before visiting new websites.
- Find out from your friends whether the website is reliable or if they have any prior experience using it.
- Look for details on the location. Find news about the company that manages the website using a search engine, or seek out forum postings about other people’s experiences with that website.
- Check your browser’s address bar. Although some dangerous websites mimic legitimate websites, your address bar will let you know which site you’re actually visiting. It’s suspicious if you’re not on the website you anticipated being on.
- Run a site-specific Google Safe Surfing diagnostic. On the diagnostic page, copy and paste the URL of a website into the search field before pressing the search button. A report on the site’s safety will be shown.
Use secure authentication and strong passwords.
Be sure to follow the recommended practices for password creation. The length of passwords should be greater than eight characters, and they should contain a variety of letters, numbers, cases, and symbols. Your password must be unique and should be updated periodically. Additionally, they shouldn’t be written down anywhere that could be found. Because keeping track of all this information can be challenging, think about using a password manager to manage your login information.
Because even the strongest passwords can be cracked, employ multi-factor authentication to offer an extra layer of security. This will stop privilege escalation during the initial phases of malware penetration.
Enforce safe browsing and email
You can dramatically lessen the harm that malware poses by requiring users to follow safe browsing and email procedures. Make sure users thoroughly analyze any emails they get, looking out for odd email addresses, text that doesn’t seem right, spelling errors, or demands that seem off, such as requests for private information. Internet use should be scrutinized with the same care as other activities. Never allow them to use a public Wi-Fi network or access any website that doesn’t start with “HTTPS” in the URL.
We trust that this text has provided you with a detailed understanding of malware attack prevention. Malware-producing cybercriminal networks are always developing and attempting new attack methods. Security professionals must have a thorough plan for building, maintaining, and improving their cyber defenses.
In order to stop endpoints from connecting to malicious access points before the attackers have a chance to establish a foothold, hardware-enforced micro segmentation is crucial. Using both physical and cybersecurity precautions.