An Introduction to Malware
Have you ever clicked on a link and something automatically began installing to your computer? Maybe you've even opened an email and clicked on a link only to find little windows popping up asking you where to save the file. These are some examples of what malware looks like and how it can sneak its way into your computer. Continue reading to find out more about malware, how it works, and how you can protect yourself from it.
What is malware?
The definition of malware might seem simple, it's software that can damage or disable computers and computer systems. Malware can damage any device with computing capabilities. It is malicious code that is written into a program allowing an attacker access to confidential and sensitive information. The attacker will also gain the ability to spy on personal and private computers. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and rootkits are just a few of the different types of malware.
How Malware Works:
Malware works by tricking users into downloading software from the internet onto their computer, tablet, or phone. Once downloaded, malware can manifest itself in many ways. Showing advertisements on your browser, locking different user functions, and deleting system files are just a few examples that demonstrate how malware works.
Malware usually tricks the user by having something misleading pop up that makes the user want to click on it. It might claim that you're a winner and that you need to click to claim a prize, or it could be sent via email using a trusted company name as the sender. After you click this pop-up or advertisement, you will be redirected to another page that usually alarms you that your computer has been infected. It will then ask you to click a download link to scan or clean your computer. This is when the malware is installed into your system and gains control of your computer.
How to Prevent Malware:
You can prevent becoming a victim of malware by following these steps below.
1. Use a trusted anti-virus/malware program and run scans regularly.
2. Change your browser settings so that it asks you where to save the file you download rather than allowing your browser to automatically download files. This will allow you to cancel any downloads that you were tricked into initiating.
3. Never click on a pop-up window. If you're stuck, try the ESC button. If ESC doesn't work, hold down Ctrl+Alt+Del and end the process for whichever browser you're using.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help from trusted professionals when you need it.
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