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Malware 101: What is malware

This article will explain some of the most common ways for end users to get infected by malware.  Please read carefully and apply this knowledge and stay safe!

What is Malware?

Below will give you more of an overview on what malware means.

Malware is a combination of two words Malicious Software.  Its something that a user doesn’t need on their computer.  Examples of malware are trojans, adware, spyware, viruses, and much more. The pop ups you’re getting on you web browsers asking you for free tech support or the common one FBI money Pak are all related to malware.

Why Does Malware Exist?

Why does malware exist? Below will give you more calcification on why malware lives on this earth.

Actually people make money illegally off malware. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing rapidly as each day goes by. Most malware is created by criminals to steal vital information off your computer to harm you the user or trick users to buy virus protection software when it is not legit.

How Do You Get Infected?

Infection can lead to multiple reasons. Below will give you a good general reasoning behind getting infected.

  1. Keep your Your Operating System updated with the latest updates! Reason I say this is because most updates are vital for your protection when it comes to security patches and holes in the operating system. With out updating your system regularly you will become open for malware to hide in your system or worse..
  2. Always have a good strong Anti Virus Software. Now ofcourse keep in mind Anti Virus Software can protect, but not all the time. Sometimes infections can be caused by the user themselves. Usually Anti Virus Software will protect you from going to websites or block you from malicious sites. Remember its only the users discretion to go to a malicious site when your protected. Keep in mind Anti virus protection is real-time. That means your protected and updates are regularly. Note not all the time AV will protect you, so ever so often check for updates.
  3. Don’t be fooled, social engineering is one of the most easiest ways to get malware. Example of this is when some that imposes his/herself as a legit computer consultant for Microsoft and calls you to gain access to your computer. The result will lead most of the time to malware  which being injected into your system by the criminals. Microsoft will not call you! So do not get fooled by this!
  4. Emails are common along with social engineering most common malware like the Cryptolocker which will encrypt user data can be caused  by a fake tracking number linked from a scammer acting as FedEx. So be very careful when looking at emails! This is also known as Phishing.
  5. P2P file sharing is common, most torrent sites can carry some of the most harmful malware out. Usually your Anti Virus will prevent you from even downloading torrents. As mention its the user discretion..
  6. Codecs, Viewers , and Fake Downloads. Sometime you get carried away click on the latest “java update from ad on a  site” for an example. Upon clicking that ad boom! infections come flowing in. Be careful with ads.  Most of them are not what they seem. So its best to not click them even if you have the urge too!
  7. Advertisement as mention before are very common. Remember nothing is actually free!
  8. Social sites are very common nowadays, be careful and remember don’t like on links that are from a random person you don’t know.

How Do You Prevent Infections?

How do you prevent infections? This list will give you the basics preventive measurements when it comes to malware being infected on your computer.

  1. Firewalls are good way to prevent infections. Either software firewalls which usually is standard for each OS and AV software comes with firewall implemented as well or Hardware firewalls which will save up some resources and won’t bog down your system as much.
  2. Protection software! as mention above it’s a must have. Anti virus software will prevent you most of the time from malware. Just remember that make sure its updated regularly and scan for malware on daily basis. Infections can spread and the more infections the more backdoor are open for attackers.
  3. Windows updates and Program updates. Make sure your system is updated and as well as third-party software. Microsoft puts out security patches every month to make sure your updated.
  4. Safe web habits. Be aware of false advertisements. Don’t go clicking on everything you see. Pay attention to grammar mistakes. If you do not know what site is legit or program do a quick google search. Use the tools available for you.
  5. Use secure password. Use a password you will remember, but make it something unique and not your pet’s name!

Whats the Damage of Malware?

How bad can malware damage your Operating System or life? Below list what malware can do to harm you!

  1. Malware can causes BSOD or Damaged Files.
  2. Can cause changed settings from internet options to hijackers causing your web browsers to act up.
  3. Restricted access to particular programs like Group Policies which can be found in windows registry HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVerison \Polices. Group polices are restricted or limited to users because of how critical it is not to change or remove them. Malware can cause issues with Group Polices and causing the administrator  to become restricted to reach vital tools in windows.
  4. Malware can damage personal damage. For example damaging user data and identity theft.

Hopefully this article will help you have a general knowledge of malware and what it can do to affect your daily life.   Cheers!

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