Data security

Malware and Cyber Crime - Risks and Prevention

virusThe motto of using the internet is to bring people closer. The World Wide Web initially sounded alien to all of us. But it is now a part of our daily lives. In fact, it is now one of the most convenient ways to remain connected. But along with its advantages, there are issues with the internet as well. One of the major and most dangerous disadvantages is, perhaps, the attack of malware.

You might be spending hours on the internet. But are you aware of the fact that you are becoming a potential target of the hackers? May be you were checking a few links and have clicked on one of them. And suddenly your computer has become vulnerable. This means all your secret and sensitive information might be divulged and the system might be damaged as well.

What is Malware?

Malware refers to the malicious software or programs that are used to steal sensitive information from a system while damaging it. It unethically steals the data and information stored in the system. In fact, it has become one of the most used tools for bank theft and identity theft in recent times.

Malware may include:

  • Viruses
  • Worms
  • Trojan horses
  • Rootkits
  • Backdoors

Viruses and worms are the most common types of malware that can affect your system. While viruses spread by making copies of themselves, worms are standalone malware program that can transmit itself over a network to infect the computers. Trojan horses and rootkits are malware that make the program run undetected. Backdoors is the process to bypass the authentication procedure. Often the computer vandals install more than one backdoor to gain access to the systems of others.

Why is it a Threat?

There used to be a time when the teenaged pranksters used to make these software for fun and sometime for posing some minor threats to their rivals. But now, these software are developed by the computer savvy geniuses who are extremely skillful and possess technically sound knowledge as well.

As a result, they are employing various tactics that will help them to affect the victim emotionally and financially.

Now, malware not only vandalizes a system and accesses data, but is also used to gain financial profit as well. Since 2000, the online vandalism is crossing every limit and it has become a convenient tool to blackmail someone and demand ransom.

The variety of software not only accesses the files saved in the system, but also gains access to secret information like bank account details, credit card, and so on. And ultimately they exploit them to cause damages. In short, they are after your bank balance.

A few software like Spyware can track you down the advertising purpose and decrease the speed of computer. Some software like Scareware imitates the anti-virus software with the ultimate goal of extorting payment from you. Ransomware can help the hackers to gain access in your PC and then demand ransom for the secret information that they have acquired. And worst, programs like Rootkits can turn your computer into a potential danger for other computers by sending spam mails or illegal materials or can attack a website.

Prevention against Malware

Obviously, you must be terrified and now pondering over how a simple click on some innocent looking error message can help malware to land up in your computer. Yes, you are under constant threat of unknown enemies and their unknown plans. But, trust me, if you take some precautions, they will never be able to pose any kind of threat to you.

1. Keep Your PC Updated

The main reason these malicious software can affect your computer or network because the software in your PC is not updated and it possess loopholes, the floodgate for welcoming a deluge of malware. The software companies like Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and others know about these. Hence, they release regular updates. Make sure all these updates are running in your PC. Otherwise your system will become vulnerable to these threats.

2. Be careful of Random Pop-up Windows, Attachments or Error Messages

Though modern browser does not allow too many pop-up windows, yet they do exist. And as a result they can easily convince the most cautious user to click on it. The error message that often pops up while closing a window can be a threat too. Force quit out the program and run a scan to see if your system is secured or not. Don’t open an attachment if it comes unexpectedly even from a trusted source.

3. Don’t Let Spam Ruin Your Life

Whenever you get some mail containing such malware, let your mail software inform you about it. If your social network existence is threatened by such spams, report it. Refuse the association with those people who are irresponsible enough to pose threat on your virtual life.

4. Think Again while Installing a Program

While installing a software in your PC, be careful. You can Google the name of the program to find out if it is trustworthy. If still in doubt, seek help from friends and users across social media. If you get any negative vibe, refrain from clicking on the download link. It will save the system from disaster.

The basic thing that you need to keep in mind is, you have to be careful and use common sense. It's on you that the safety of your device and your privacy depend. So, don’t take it too lightly. Think wise and stay safe.

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