Semalt Expert Specifies Anti-Malware Tips
Malware refers to all forms of harmful software that gets into a computer system often without the knowledge of the owner. Viruses, adware, and spyware are some of the most common malware. Malware can disrupt or slow the computer's operations, steal information, allow unauthorized access to the system's resources, cause frequent crashing or freezing, and many other disruptions.
Malware authors usually trick users into downloading malicious files, and that's why most malware types get into computer systems unnoticed.
It is very important to take the necessary precautions to detect malware and prevent it from infecting and damaging your system.
Jack Miller, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, defines some reliable ways of doing so:
1. Use up-to-date anti-virus and apply patches
This is one of the most important actions every computer owner/user should do to keep their computers protected from malware infection. Always use up-to-date anti-virus protection and install software updates and patches as soon as they are released.
Using updated anti-virus protection also helps to avoid "drive-by" downloads – scripts on malicious websites that run and install malware secretly.
It's imperative for you to remember that not all sources of patches and updates are trustworthy. Always ensure that you get application software updates from major providers such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and Java.
2. Don't click links or attachments in suspicious emails
Emails have been used to spread malware for so long. Usually, an email used for this purpose will contain malware files as an attachment. The email may also provide a link that takes you to a website and then you'll manually install malware or carry out a "drive-by" download. To avoid malware sent via email:
- Do not click links or open email attachments if the email comes from an unknown or untrustworthy source.
- Even if you know the source but the email looks suspicious, first contact the sender and confirm what the attachment or link is about.
- Never open email attachments ending with .bat, .exe, .vbs, or .com.
3. Beware of social engineering tricks
Social engineering is a technique used to trick a person into taking an action. It is not a bad thing per say, but malware propagators can use it to spread malicious links. They usually use various ways to catch your attention and click a link to a malicious website. Once you visit the site, malware is installed on your system.
Some popular social engineering methods include:
- Link baiting – providing teasers to generate interest in the provided content
- Popup alerts – popups that inform you that your device has a problem and that for you to fix it, you have to click the alert. The link can lead you into installing software (which is the malware). A "drive-by" download can also be initiated through a popop alert.
- Media players – malware can also be spread through media players in this manner: maybe you have visited a website and found an interesting video. But for you to play it, the website tells you that you must install certain media player software. However, in a real sense, you will be installing malware.
You can avoid these tricks by simply not clicking or engaging any popup window that appears. And for media player software, regardless of how enticing the video might be, never install the software recommended there. To keep your device protected, always install software from trusted websites.
4. Use file sharing programs wisely
Files sharing websites and programs can contain malware. You can unknowingly install malware when you install a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) program. Also, you can receive malware disguised as a video or music file for download.
Always ensure that any P2P software you want to install is verified malware free. Also, you should not allow P2P uploading or open any downloaded file before scanning it for viruses.
Cybercriminals will always design harmful software and distribute it to achieve their malicious objectives. Everyone needs to be vigilant about safeguarding their systems.