Malware is a very popular term mostly used in the technology world, . Having a computer virus is something one might not easily avoid. But instead of asking what’s malware, how can I prevent it? I think the best step we should not skip is understanding the common sources of malware. This malicious software can find its way on a computer through Emails and other ways dealt with later in the post.
Sometimes the same Malware is used by Tech specialists in doing Reverse engineering: an obvious approach to completely reverse engineer a piece of malware.
What does malware do?
Well the functions of malware are very broad, mainly specified to what functions carried out and how malware works changes from software and file to file.
You need to understand that each type of malware has its own unique way of causing havoc, and most rely on user action of some kind. In short its programed to act after a certain action is initiated by you, the computer owner.
What Are Common Sources Of Malware ?
It seems like a day cannot pass without hearing about someone losing a fortune because of a computer virus infection. Virus attacks are happening more frequently around the world and there is no doubt that they present a prominent issue. One should take every possible measure to stay safe from malicious attacks. Take a look at some of the top sources of virus attacks.
1. Infected removable external drives
One of the most common way is through removable external drives. Many worms spread by infecting removable drives such as USB flash drives or external hard drives which you use to transfer data from one computer to another or during a fresh install of an installed operating system or booting.
The malware can be automatically installed when you connect the infected drive to a PC. Other malware spread by infecting PCs connected to the same network.
2. Spam Emails
The use of spam has been growing since the early 1990s and is a problem faced by most email users. Malware authors often use tricks to try to convince you to download malicious files. Email spam, also known as junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email. This can be an email with a file attached that tells you you have won 1 million dollars click accept to claim it.
And by so doing you might end up installing malware on the PC or giving access of private data to the hackers. Anyone can send you an email attachment whether you know them or not. Clicking on unknown links or attachments can harm your device. Think twice before clicking anything and make sure that file type is not ‘.exe’.
A false Spam email always has a fake address sometimes and a bad spelling and grammar, mostly ends up in spam email folders and come from an email address you’ve never seen before. Sometimes these emails can however, look like they come from a legitimate business or someone you know.
3. Compromised Websites
Visiting a website controlled by hackers might be malicious trap to infect your computer with malware and viruses. This website could be a legitimate website that has been compromised, specifically designed to exploit data or was hacked and infected.
Software vulnerabilities can also be utilized by Malware to infect any PC or mobile device. Any vulnerability can give malware access to that PC, which is why it mostly recommended to always update any application or computer regularly. Visiting website an infected Website can can try use those vulnerabilities on that computer, Laptop or mobile device to infect it with malware.
Unknown, new or less popular sources should be avoided. Programs downloaded from websites with viruses are the commonest source of malware such as freeware, worms, and other executable files. It is important to ensure the reliability of the source of the media, Whether you download an image editing software, a music file or an e-book.
These can be websites, that have been created specifically for web attacks, drive-by downloads from exploited web browsers or email clients, clicking on an ad that installs malware onto any computer.
4. Bundled with other software
Some programs are designed to install other software that Microsoft detects as potentially unwanted software for a device. Are you aware of software cracking? Well, every time you open a cracked software, your antivirus software might flag it as a malware as the cracks consist of malicious scripts. Always say “No” to cracks as they can inject malicious script into your PC.
The software you download can include more than you bargain for. Spyware or other types of malware could come bundled with something you download. Do you mostly download free apps for any device, files or programs? Do you trust the publisher of each software or app? .
Note Malware can be installed at the same time as other programs that you download and when you install the software and malware begins to function as well. Programs used to generate software keys (keygens) often install malware at the same time, this includes software you can download from unreliable sources on the web and third-party websites and files shared via torrents.
Usually you can opt out and not install this extra software by clearing a check box during the installation. Malware Virus can include programs that show you extra ads as you browse the web. Microsoft windows has a built in security feature, which finds malware on more than half of PCs with keygens installed and mostly prompts to ask if you wish to install the software from an unknown publisher.
5. Human error:
Ignoring security software warnings about a link, media attachment, file or program and clicking anyway might give way for a Malware. Human error could be when you click a malicious website link, downloading a suspicious email attachment, clicking on an ad that looks legitimate, or other similar types of mistakes in which you click on something that leads to malware.
6. The Internet
Make sure to check URL before accessing any website. One of the easiest ways to get a virus on your device is through the Internet. Avoid websites that actually require you to install a particular type of plug-in to watch that video.
It might be a way of making you install a virus. Ensure you visit secured websites that use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure ‘https’ in it.
7. Booting Data from Unknown CDs
Either booting an operating system from a bootable USB, you must take necessary precautions. A malicious software can get into your device through an unknown CD or flash drive. Remove the CD when your device is not working at all.
8. Unpatched software
This is another common form of getting malware. The software if not properly patched by an expert it holds holds, which are exploited and planted with viruses. It is therefore recommended to use an Antivirus like Avast. And regularly install software updates as soon as they are available on your PC. Apart from above-mentioned sources, you can get viruses through file sharing and office or home networks can also be a source of computer virus attacks too.
Bluetooth transfers can also infect your system, so it is crucial to know what type of media file is being sent to your computer whenever a transfer takes place. An effective armor would be to allow Bluetooth connectivity with only known devices and activate it only when required.
Note- This blog post has been republished with the latest facts and statistics.
How to protect yourself against malware:
- Some Spam emails will ask and prompt you to enter correct details, don’t click on the link in the email you aren’t sure its coming from.
- Don’t open and install a Software from a third party website or torrents unless you trust the developer and website.
- Have knowledge about malware and how to remove it
- If you noticing an attachment to your email that you weren’t expecting, before taking any action, please be sure that was sent by someone you don’t know.
- Use Windows malicious software removal tool
- Avoid downloading and accepting software to run on any Computer without fully understanding what you are installing.
- If you aren’t sure who sent you the email,or maybe an app or software looks suspicious don’t open it.
- Install the best computer Antivirus software
- For information go to our Help center