We live a digital life, which has also increased the risk of being exposed to malicious software. However, knowing what you need to protect yourself against in everyday digital life can be difficult.
For example, most people don’t know what malware really is, or how they can protect themselves from it. More people than ever are using computers- from tiny children to the elderly.
But malware doesn’t have an age limit; anyone can get affected by this parasitic computer virus. It can and will put anyone in danger, as well as their personal files and information.
As more and more of our information is stored digitally, our devices have become popular targets for hackers. We often talk about malware (or malicious software), but this is something that comes in many shapes and colors.
Malware is only a general term for worms, viruses, Trojans, ransomware, bots, botnets, adware, spyware, rootkits, malvertising, and a number of other forms of malware.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some types of malware you should be aware of and how you can reduce the risk of your device being infected by them.
4 Types of Malware and How to Protect Yourself From It
What is Malware?
Malicious software usually aims to gain access to sensitive information on a device. In most cases, this will be about financial gain, but several types of malware only intend to destroy as much as possible.
We will therefore look at some of the most common types so that you know what you are up against in the fight against malware.
Worms are a popular type of software that hackers use to gain access to various devices or networks. These are not dependent on specific programs or the like, which makes them very effective for hackers.
A worm only needs a weak point in the network to gain access, and then it moves silently around to achieve its purpose. This could be, for example, installing a backdoor for hackers or stealing certain information from the system.
Ransomware, or ransom virus as it is often called, is another type of malware. These often gain access by someone on the network inadvertently downloading a malicious program.
Such software can hide in attachments or links from unknown websites. Just as the name suggests, the purpose of ransomware is to demand a ransom to unlock files again.
Such a program would like to encrypt all or part of the network and then demand payment to give the owners access. Several large companies have been exposed to this type of attack in recent years.
Some viruses sneak in completely silently, and this is often because they intend to steal information. So-called spyware is exactly what it sounds like, a program that spies on your device.
It may copy files from your disk or log activity. In any case, it will be able to gain access to information located on the device over time.
This is particularly common on corporate networks, where foreign states or competitors attempt to acquire secrets.
Hackers carrying out DDoS attacks will need huge amounts of data, often getting this through a botnet. This is a program that searches the network for weaknesses in various devices and then places a malicious code on the device.
This purpose is to gain access to the device and thus use it as part of a botnet. In some cases, one may only experience the device becoming slower, but botnets can also prevent the user from using the device altogether.
How to Protect Yourself from Malware
Although it can seem a little dark at times, luckily there are a number of measures you can take to protect your device.
We have collected some good precautions you should take to avoid getting malicious software on devices on your network. These will keep you safe from malware.
It’s never a bad idea to be prepared beforehand- by using these tips, you can be sure that you won’t get malware or a virus on your computer. These are some good tips, in general, to practice good safety while you’re on the internet!
Use a VPN
Using a VPN for chrome can be a good measure to protect your device from data attacks. However, many people wonder what a VPN is, and we will quickly explain that.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network as it really stands for, is a virtual tunnel between your device and an external server.
All data sent between these servers will be encrypted, making it very difficult for hackers to find the device. You can thus protect your device by encrypting your data through a VPN when you surf the web.
Avoid Suspicious Links and Attachments
Malware is often spread through links and attachments, making emails the most common method. You should be wary of downloading attachments and opening links that you cannot verify, especially from unknown senders.
Be especially cautious while checking your email- spam emails should be deleted immediately, and remember to never open them! Spam texts can also be hacked, so be sure never to open those as well.
Update Your Software
As we have already mentioned, it is often weaknesses in software that are the starting point for hackers. It is, therefore, important to ensure that all software is sufficiently updated to include all important security updates.
Sometimes, your computer will automatically include security updates and bug fixes, so you must update your software often to ensure it’s up to date.
Protect Your Devices with Antivirus
Perhaps one of the smartest things you can do to protect against malware is to get an antivirus protection program installed.
Antivirus can be a wise measure to avoid the most common attacks. Antivirus companies actively monitor what is happening in the market.
And their software can act as a shield against various types of attacks. In addition, it can be good to scan devices at regular intervals to catch any files that should be deleted.
Antivirus programs can range in price, from free to around $50. Most mid-range antivirus programs are around $20, but it’s well worth it.
The most common antivirus program is Norton– it’s relatively easy to install on your computer. Just make sure you’re buying directly from their website! They also offer 30-day free trials if you just want to try it out.
In conclusion, there are many different types of malware you should try to stay away from. It can come in many different forms, and each one is sneakier than the next.
It can come in the form of bots, trojans, spyware, ransomware, and worms. They all seek to take your personal information and can potentially crash your computer.
To protect yourself, make sure you take a few precautionary measures. You can do this by using a VPN, avoiding suspicious links, updating your computer regularly, and installing antivirus protection.
It’s important that you stay educated and up-to-date on different types of malware. As technology quickly advances, unfortunately, so do malware and different ways to steal information.
Are you looking for more ways to keep your data safe? We’ve written a couple more articles on protecting your personal information, so be sure to check those out before you leave!