How to Avoid Malware Online

Malware refers to a broad category of damaging software which include spyware, worms, viruses, Trojan horses and adware. Their effects may range from identity theft to annoying computer crashes. In recent times, there has been an increase in malicious and insidious attack that has turned mobile phone users as hostages of cyber criminals. As mobile devices have become more common in people’s personal lives, cyber criminals have shifted their strategy to target these users.

How to avoid malware

Malware is easier to avoid than to remove. To prevent a malware, you only need to stay vigilance on the things you do online such as avoid downloading or installing anything from untrusted site regardless of how convincing they may be. However, being careful does not mean your device will never be infected. It is important to note that, malware are designed to sneak into your device and that’s why you need an updated anti-malware in your device.

Most likely sites to find malware online

Malicious adverts – A recent case study by Blue Coat identified pornography as the leading lure in 2015, with 36% of malicious adverts directing traffic to porn sites. This was up from 17% in 2014 (fallen to second place) and leading in 2013 with 22%. However, the general malvertising (malicious advertising) dropped from 2014 to 2015 from 20% to 5% respectively. This includes ads displayed on sites, hosting Trojan horse apps.

Pop-up window – some websites pop extra windows which attempt to corner the user to download a free software or enjoy a “free scan”. Most of these pop-ups include scare tactics to ensure the user believe the need of using the service. In such cases, it is advisable to not allow pop-ups until you inspect them well.

Top types of malware today

Ransomware – mobile ransomware has had an enormous growth in 2014. While particular varieties which run on Android devices have caused little damage. The Microsoft windows devices have been targeted with very sophisticated approaches which the users become hostage of cyber criminals. The increased performance of smartphones have enabled these cyber criminals to make advanced malware such as Simple-Locker. Simple-Locker in particular, can destroy videos, music files, photographs and other documents to make them unreadable.

Potentially unwanted software – exhibits certain attributes such as a typical adware or spyware on the user’s personal data, online activity and user’s interests to serve related ads. There has been an increase in volume in these types of malware especially in the mobile devices.

Apps leaking information – Many people are not aware that certain apps may correct personal data on the users and report them to unknown people time and time again. When users install these types of apps, the app may be set to correct the version of the phone’s OS, browser information, manufacturer and other personal information. The problem is that, smartphones are not fitted with system tools to warn or alert the users if in case an app may be sending personal data from their devices.

How to stay safe online

Install real-time anti-malware software – windows and mobile users should ensure their devices are installed with a professional business-grade antivirus. A free ant-malware program is not enough to ensure a device is well protected considering the growing number of malware threats.

Keep ant-malware software updated Anti-virus programs must be regularly updated on their databases to ensure the PC or mobile phone is well protected from the latest threats.

Perform daily scans – it is possible for a malware to escape the system protection and infect the device. This is usually attributed to the high number of malware and new threats each time which may outsmart the security software. In that case, it is important to scan the device at least daily.

Protect personal information – using passwords that are long and strong, having different passwords for different accounts, if you have to write down password keep it safe and secure accounts with verification process.

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