How to Be Safe – the Malware Lowdown

Malware is defined as malicious software downloaded to a computer without the knowledge of the owner. Some of these software types –  such as viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, worms, spy ware, key loggers, and adware – can come from many different sources. It can be embedded in a PDF or word document, received in an email, downloaded through music files, or loaded thorugh other unreputable applications. Adware, a common type of malware, is typically received through ads on websites.

Traditionally, this type of software is accidentally downloaded by clicking an ad on a website without you ever knowing. In the past, this type of security exploit has been primarily found on suspicious or unreputable website but lately we are seeing valid sites getting exploited as well. This is due to the background ad networks (the service that populates the pages on that particular website with ad content) being compromised and delivering malware and randsomware ???????? like cryptolocker. These nasty pieces of software also have a high impact on workstation performance and is a resource hog. This makes your machine run slow and leaves very little memory for your business applications. Even worse, this malware could find its way through the network onto other computers in your organization. This is how the cryptolocker randsomware is able to cripple business networks and steal valuable information ???????? most commonly compromising banking and credit card information. This is why we recommend a layered approach to security by having not only end point protection like antivirus software, but also having a network firewall, and good internet usage habits. Of course, nothing is 100% which is why having a good backup is just as important.Below is a great example of how software installers attempt to load other applications without you knowing. You should always choose the custom installation instead of the express installation.

Further, you should always read before clicking next or you might inadvertently end up with malware on your machine. You may think to yourself, ???????well Chrome isn????????t a malicious application.??????? But you cannot be sure that this software is actually what it purports itself to be. This might actually be adware or malware pretending to be Chrome which is why it is always important to understand what you are clicking next to. When in doubt, stop what you are doing and ask us or your supervisor or someone who may know better because even reputable software makes like Adobe and Java follow these same practices of trying to slip in other software.