Malware or malicious software is one of the most common tools cybercriminals use to steal sensitive information. Computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware gain access to a network by infecting a computer connected to it. In an instant, malware can hijack somebody’s emails and passwords and even launch denial of service attacks.
However, malware does not appear on thin air—it needs an entry point to start and spread in a computer. But how does malware enter somebody’s computer through the network?
1. Phishing Emails
Phishing is an online scam where cybercriminals duplicate a legitimate email from established companies to make them tools for stealing sensitive information. Most of the time, people do not realise phishing activities have victimised them because the emails they received look too authentic and similar to the original files. However, after clicking on a link embedded in the email, they’ve already given access to the cybercriminals, unknowingly granting them permission to steal their data.
2. Infected Files
Infected files refer to documents laced with malware that becomes a tool used for stealing information by cybercriminals. Often sourced from malicious websites, infected files target the codes in a copy and restructure them to do functions other than what users expect them to do. Therefore, it is vital for everybody who owns a personal computer to constantly update their antivirus software to keep their data safe and secure.
3. Operating System Loopholes
Contrary to popular belief, operating systems aren’t a hundred per cent safe from malware attacks. They can become one of the most sensitive parts of a computer system, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. But as long as people update their antivirus software installed in their personal computers, no virus or malware should get in and do its goal. Keep in mind that cyberattacks in operating systems are low but not impossible.
4. Connected Peripherals
Connected peripheral devices are among the most common and easiest ways for malware to infect a susceptible computer. Through plugging in flash drives and other computer accessories, cybercriminals can program a virus that stays undetected until such time where the user has already given away all their information. As much as possible, try not to use peripheral devices, especially if you’re unsure where they have been connected prior. If you cannot avoid them, make sure to do a quick scan before using them.
5. Malicious Websites
Malicious websites have almost similar functionality to emails cybercriminals use in phishing. They have duplicated websites, usually from established companies, that look like the copy itself. Malicious websites can look harmless, but they can crack down on a computer’s safety features and get all the information it needs out of it. Avoid visiting suspicious websites and only use accredited or popular websites online.
At the height of technological advancement, malware still exists because people want to get ahead of everyone else. However, it’s up to users to protect themselves from potential thieves that can steal their information through simple tools designed to deceive people. For best results, install antivirus software or at least stay safe while browsing the internet.
FraudWatch is a digital brand protection company that offers detection and takedown services for brands operating online. Our goal is to protect clients from potential malware attacks and keep their data and information intact. Leave a message on our website or schedule an appointment with us for inquiries!