Here’s everything you need to know about what malware is and how to prevent it.
The definition of malware comes from combining two words: malicious + software = malware. Malware is software designed to work against the interests of the owner of a system or device. Some types can find their own way into your device, while others need to be planted there.
What does malware do? Its effects vary in severity, from tracking relatively harmless data to holding your device at ransom or destroying it for fun.
You’ll find malware types of every sort below. There are countless varieties out there, so we’ll stick to some of the most widespread malware examples. Here are the top most common types of malware:
Malware could infect your devices in several different ways. Here are a few of the most common ones:
The most popular method of spreading viruses is through email. Both simple spam and sophisticated phishing attacks still trick people into clicking on links or downloading attachments that contain malware.
If you click on any pop-up or advert that you come across while browsing, chances are, you’ll eventually end up on a malicious website. It will download malware in the background, and just like that, you’ll have a keylogger or a trojan on your device.
Some malware spreads from one device to another through the internal network. For example, someone in the office forgot their cybersecurity training and clicked on a malicious link. So the next day, everyone’s computers are infected, and all their files are encrypted, with no access to their accounts.
Malware is known for piggybacking. So even when you download a trustworthy piece of software, you might end up with more than you asked for. You can install malware together with legitimate software without even noticing, and it could be anything from slightly annoying adware to spyware stealing your banking data.
Changes in speed
Your device or browsers have slowed to a crawl
Your device frequently freezes or crashes
Apps acting weird
Programs on your computer open or close without warning
Files, add-ons, or apps on your device that you don’t recognize
Your security, browser, or app settings change without your consent
Unusual emails or texts that were sent without your permission
Your device overheats, or its battery drains super fast
Your phone bill has increased without you knowing why
Here’s how you prevent a malware attack:
One of the most comprehensive defenses against any malicious code is a piece of reputable security software. As always, premium tools are the way to go. The best software packages are backed by dedicated teams of developers who monitor the latest threats and respond to them with updates as quickly as possible.
Don’t ever click on pop-ups, and make sure you’re clicking on the right “X” to close them. To make things easier, switch on NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature, and it will block ads for you. Mouse-over or right-click on links before clicking on them to see where they take you.
Maintaining frequent backups of your files may not prevent you from getting malware, but it will make attacks much easier and less damaging to deal with. Device resets are a nearly guaranteed way to wipe out most malware, but they’re very hard to do if every wipe means losing important files. With frequent, secure backups, that won’t be a problem.
Before downloading an app, read some reviews online – and be sure to find at least one negative one as well. What do they say? Are users complaining about features or performance, or are there more serious issues at play? Has anyone accused the app of being malware?
Research the most serious vulnerabilities facing your device or operating system. If you know them, you can avoid them.
When a trusted app or your OS asks you to confirm an update, you probably should. In addition to providing feature and performance improvements, updates usually patch up newly discovered security vulnerabilities.
Learn how to craft a strong password that you’ll remember. You can also use a password manager like NordPass so that you don’t need to rely on weak passwords – it’ll generate, remember them and secure them for you.
When you discover malware on your device and eliminate it, one of the first things you’ll want to do is change your passwords.
Whether it’s a smartphone or a PC, your device has plenty of built-in settings that can go a long way to make it more secure.
You can use the NordVPN app on smartphones, laptops, PCs, and routers, enjoying better protection from malware across all your devices, especially with the Threat Protection feature.
Enjoy the all-round security provided by our apps. Protect your internet traffic, passwords, and files.
How NordVPN can help depends on the malware you’re up against.
Blocks dangerous websites
NordVPN’s built-in Threat Protection feature blocks access to malicious websites before they have a chance to trick you into infecting your device.
Deletes malicious files
Threat Protection scans the files you download and, if malware is detected, instantly deletes it.
Fends off pop-ups
Threat Protection blocks potentially malicious ads before you even get the chance to see them.
The encryption a VPN provides will close off numerous avenues of infiltration for potential hackers and their malware (but not all of them).
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