What is Malware and How Can You Avoid It?

The Internet is a haven for many of us who like to escape for some time from the real world. But no one can deny the presence of hackers and online frauds out there, trying to cause a disorder. One common way of doing it is by transmitting malware. So what is malware, and how can you avoid it?

Malware is a type of software that damages the computer it infects by encrypting, stealing, or deleting information and even disabling the computer. It can change or hijack your computer’s system functions, extort money, and monitor your activity.

Different Types of Malware

  • Virus: It can infect a computer, replicate itself, change the way your computer operates and spread other computers through a network.
  • Worm: It is the most common malware and poses a great threat as a worm can copy itself even when not attached to any program. It can spread through a network.
  • Trojan Horse: It is a destructive malware that imitates a legit program introduces other malware by tricking users. 
  • Adware: Adware is a malware that automatically displays and downloads advertisements on your computer to create income for the creator.
  • Spyware: It accesses and steals sensitive information from a computer. Hackers can use this malware to spy on your activities using your computer’s microphone and camera.
  • Ransomware: It infects a device and restricts its user from using it or accessing its data. The user gets threats about their data being deleted or published until they pay a ransom to the creator.
  • Rogueware: This malware tricks users into thinking that their computer has an infection, leading to the users clicking on a fake message and installing malware.

How Can You Avoid Malware?

  • Update your computer and software

It is ideal to install available updates to your device whenever Apple or Microsoft releases their OS updates. They often come with bug fixes that enhance your system’s security. 

Besides updating the operating system of your device, you should also ensure that your software is updated to the latest version. It can keep your computer secure from malware attacks through security fixes.

  • See that you open images or email attachments from a trusted source only

Receiving emails and file attachments from random people or sites may sometimes just be spam. But if you are unlucky, opening them could get your system a malware infection. Hesitate opening or downloading files from unknown emails just like you would not accept a gift box from a random person!

  • Be careful when you download anything 

We are usually skeptical about anything that comes “free” from an unknown person or source in the actual world. It should be the same when you are using the web. Downloading a free game or a free program from an unknown source can cause malware attacks on your device. 

If you find something tempting, it would be ideal to look for information and reviews about that program or site before you download or install it on your device.

  • Control file-sharing

Some apps and websites are designed to make file-sharing with others easy and convenient. However, many do not offer protection from malware that looks like your usual game, album, movie, or program file. If you prefer exchanging or sharing files through these methods, beware of downloading malware along with your wanted files.

  • Use an antivirus

No matter how careful, we can never always steer 100% clear of malware. Therefore, installing an antivirus can be of immense help. When you download something from the web, use your antivirus program to give it a scan before you give it a place on your pc. You can also scan the entire system for malware when you have an antivirus installed in it. Running scans regularly can detect malware and prevent its spread.