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  • Writer's pictureMark van Vuuren

Malware: Learn How to Identify the Threat Quickly

In a completely digital world, it is normal for all sensitive data of a person or company to circulate and be stored on computers or mobile devices. Whether through websites, folders or applications.

But along with the efficiency of control and information disclosure, come risks. In different corners of the Internet, there are hidden threats that can steal personal data and cause a tremendous headache to any user.

Among the most common threats in everyday virtual life, is malware, short for malicious software.

What is Malware?

Malware is a type of computer programme designed to infect a person’s device and harm them in many ways. It has various means of infecting computers and mobile devices, and it can also take many forms.

Spyware, viruses, worms, and Trojans are among these threats. Viruses are perhaps the most well-known type of malware and so are called because they are able to replicate various forms of themselves and spread across the network.

Each of them has a different “function”. Spyware, for example, copy and transmit personal information such as credit card numbers. Therefore, being well disguised in any corner of the Internet, the user must know how to identify them to protect themselves in every way.

Malware can manifest itself in many different ways on devices. Paying attention to these signs is important to be able to neutralize any threat right away.

  • Reduced operating system speed, when browsing the internet or using local applications;

  • System shutdown, crash, or Blue Screen;

  • System and antivirus update failures;

  • Sudden appearance of new toolbars, extensions, or plugins;

  • Mysterious loss of disk space;

  • Change of browser homepage without permission or links that lead to unwanted destinations on the Internet;

  • Excessive ads in pop-up windows on the screen of devices;

  • The high usage of system resources and the computer’s fan working at a fast pace.

Nevertheless, even if everything is working normally on the devices, it does not mean everything is fine. A more powerful malware can hide on the computer and perform illegal activities without awakening any system alerts, managing to steal passwords or sensitive files.

How is The User Infected with Malware?

There are many ways in which a user can be tricked, infected by malware, and put their system and data at risk. The two most common ways it can access your system are on the Internet and through email.

Anything downloaded from the Internet to a device that does not have a quality anti-malware security application can pose risks to the user. The most common ways by which this can happen are:

  • Browsing on compromised websites;

  • Downloading infected music files;

  • Installing new toolbars from an unknown provider;

  • Clicking on game demos;

  • Configuring software from a risky source;

  • Opening suspicious email attachments.

But some can also hide in legitimate apps, especially when downloaded from websites or via messages, rather than through an app store.

Therefore, it is recommended to always use reliable sources of mobile apps or install apps from reputable providers, always downloading directly from the provider and never from other websites.

Even if a user installs something from a reputable source, failing to pay attention to requests for permission to install other program packages at the same time could end up installing unwanted software.

But there are much simpler ways to come across malware. Just visiting a malicious website, for example, or viewing a page and/or an infected ad, a malware download can take place.

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