Taiwan’s giant computer company Acer was victimized recently by the REvil ransomware attack. In order to safely decrypt the data, the hackers demanded a ransom of $50 million. Malware 101 lets you understand and know how it works.
For those familiar with cybersecurity, this may be expected as such attacks become more common. But what is malware anyway? How is the device infected? What can we do to protect against it? Malware 101 attempts to answer them.
Bob Thomas, maker of the first malware “the Creeper”, was just playing with his colleagues. Creeper was a type of malware that is classified as worms. It just hopped between computers within the network and posed the message: “I’m creeper: come get me if you can.” It was just harmless and didn’t make any trouble.
Over time malware has evolved into a sophisticated code capable of destroying the whole network. As was demonstrated by the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. Where users were denied access to their data unless paying for the demanded price.
Malware 101: what is it & how it works
A Malware is an abbreviation for “malicious software”. It is a computer program designed to damage or disrupt the normal operation of a system. Done in several ways, sometimes it destroys data. In other cases, it steals data like spyware (a type of malware) and sends it to a third party. The most common types of malware are viruses, spyware, worms, adware, Trojan horses and ransomware.
Once the malware enters the system, it will perform its assigned tasks. It monitors and records activities, credentials or destroys operating system files. Malware enters the system in different means like USB drives, downloaded programs or malicious websites.
How to prevent malware attacks
1. Install credible Antivirus Software
For non-security experts, you must use Antivirus software. The security world is developing rapidly. When using antivirus software, imagine giving your network security to front-line experts who can protect you from online threats.
2. Avoid downloading pirated software
Aside from ethical issues, downloading illegal software, games, movies or other digital products are at risk of malware. Some downloadable software carries malware that when installed can cause more problems.
3. Regularly update the Operating System
The criminals are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of. They patched drivers and operating systems until they found vulnerabilities to sneak in the malware. This is why operating system developers constantly update & fix potential loopholes like what they did with WannaCry in 2017. Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone or Android-no matter which device you are using, keep the system up to date!
4. Avoid clicking on suspicious links
Sometimes you will encounter strange links. They can appear in your email (probably with attachments), in applications, or on websites such as buttons or advertisements. Avoid clicking on these links.
5. Avoid using open wifi.Man-in-the-middle (MITM) is one of the most common methods used by hackers to steal your sensitive information. Aside from monitoring personal information, they can also easily install malware on your computer. As much as possible avoid using open WiFi.