Venezuela, my native country, is beautiful! Located in the Caribbean, it has perfect weather: 85 degrees all year around. Even though it was beautiful, it was also not very safe.
I remember the first time I drove on the highway because I got a new job in the city, almost 2 hours away. I got several warnings from coworkers, friends and family, about driving at night. Local gangs would hide on the sides of the highway to throw nails and sharp objects with the intention of damaging car tires, so that unsuspecting drivers would have to stop. Thankfully this never happened to me! This malicious intent to harm someone with the goal to compromise them is the closest thing I can think of to describe malware.
Cybermonsters use malicious software, programs, or files known as “malware” with the intention of harming your computer or devices. There are many types of malware including viruses, worms, trojan horses, keyloggers, and spyware. The AV-TEST institute.org registers 350,000 malware creations every day. Once you click on or download malware, your computer, your phone or devices are compromised so they can further the damage to you, your family or business.
Infected links with malware allow Cybermonsters to install software to infect your computer and grant them access to your information. This could lead to extortion, ransoming your data until you pay a hefty fee, or even threats to your physical safety!
There are also other terms for specific types of malware. Read them below so that you can be aware next time you hear one of these:
- Trojan horses: Also known as a Trojan horse, misleads you to its true intent and hides in your computer and is usually designed to spy on, access, or extract your sensitive data.
- Virus: A type of malware that infects your computer, programs, and files, and it spreads when executed, altering or stopping the way your computer operates.
- Worm: A standalone malware program that copies itself to spread into other computers connected in the same network.
You can read more about preventing malware in Happily Ever Cyber! Protect Yourself Against Hackers, Scammers, and Cybermonsters, but in the meantime, here are 3 tips you can use to minimize the chances of getting malware on your devices!
- Find out how to click on links safely, and verify their validity before you click.
- Keep the software on your devices updated! Software updates can close the open holes or gaps left on old programs, and prevent Cybermonsters from getting to your data.
- Use a non-administrator account on your computer to do routine tasks. If you get malware on your computer while using this account, the damage will be minimal since it can’t download or install additional software tools to steal your information.
Have you ever been a victim of device malware? Share your story in the comments below!