Cyberspace the New Frontier
Technology has become as natural for people as the air they breathe. Imagine being told ten years ago that we would have the ability to use the Internet on our phones or video chat with someone across the country. However, this surge in our technological capabilities inevitably comes with its drawbacks as well. While innovators work to propel the technical field, rogue threats are being released into cyberspace. These take the forms of malicious software such as viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, and adware. Many people ask themselves, “Why do people go to the trouble to make other peoples’ lives more difficult?” This leaves most people scratching their heads in disbelief as they bring their computer to the repair shop.
Read more on why to have your neighborhood computer repair store remove the virus in Anti-Virus programs suck? We are here to help.
Types of Malware
There are many threats that exist in cyberspace. I will go into detail on some of the more glaring ones. Malware is an umbrella term that serves as a nickname for malicious software. Some of the main characteristics of malware include the collection of sensitive information, disruption of computer operation, and gaining access to private computer systems. Malware includes viruses, Trojan horses, worms, ransomware, spyware, adware, and scareware.
Read more on the popular scareware FBI Virus in FBI Virus – Beating the Scam
A virus is a malware program that seeks to perform harmful activity on the user’s computer. One of the defining characteristics of a virus is that it is self-replicating. Once executed, some of the actions performed by these malware programs include stolen hard drive space, CPU time, data corruption, and the display of pop-ups. The primary means of infection is the opening of executable files on the user’s computer.
Read more about signs of malware in 5 Signs that Suggest That your Computer has Malware, Spyware, or Viruses.
Another type of threat exists in the form of a Trojan horse. This malware program derived its named from the wooden horse used to trick the defenders of Troy into taking enemy soldiers into their city. Therefore, in relation to computers, Trojans work by presenting themselves as routine and useful programs to coax users into installing them onto their computers. Trojans differ from computer viruses because they do not attempt to inject themselves into other files. Some examples of Trojans include the infamous “blue screen of death”, electronic money theft, downloading and installing malware and ransomware, and even controlling the computer system remotely.
Worms act as a standalone malware program that seeks to spread to other computers. Unlike a virus, a worm does not need to attach itself to an existing program as mentioned previously. Instead, worms mainly exploit a computer with a weak security system. While viruses mainly corrupt or modify files on the target computer, worms primarily cause harm to the network in the form of consumption of bandwith.
As the name indicates, ransomware restricts the user’s access to the computer system, demanding a ransom paid to the creator in order to remove the limitation. Taking its roots in Russia, a ransomware worm known as CryptoLocker athered an estimated $3 million before being tracked down and removed by authorities! Ransomware typically enters a computer through a downloaded file or a weakness in a network service. It will then begin to encrypt personal files on the user’s computer and subsequently demand a ransom to restore the computer to an uninfected state. In some instances where extensive encryption is used, only the malware author knows the decryption key. This makes certain cases very difficult to diagnose and treat when brought into a computer shop.
Read more about removing CryptoLocker Virus in Can you remove Cryptolocker without paying the ransom?
Spyware is a type of software that gathers and dispenses information about a person to another entity without the user’s consent. In many cases, spyware is hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect. The most common use of spyware is to tracking users’ activities and movements on the Internet while delivering unwanted pop-ups to them.
Antivirus & Antimalware Protection
Now that we have a basic understanding of the various types of malware, I will now go into detail about preventative measures that can be taken to prevent these infections. The installation of an Antivirus Suite is essential in providing comprehensive coverage against the aforementioned threats. One of strongest combinations includes Avira Antivirus Pro and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. When run in unison, these programs offer real-time protection against both viruses and spyware.
See Avira Antivirus and Malwarebytes in comparison with other softwares in McAfee Vs Norton: Which is Better?
Ways to get Infected
It is also important to keep all anti-malware applications current to stay protected against the latest threats. Despite being short-lived, infections are estimated to infect as many as 100,000 to 300,000 new web sites each day. The best way to do this is to set the antivirus and anti-malware software to update every day at a specified time when the computer is usually powered on. In addition to keeping security software updated, it is important to performed daily to weekly scans to capture any threats that bypass the active-protection featured in Avira Antivirus and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Daily to weekly scans is another feature that can be typically set using the Scheduling feature of these programs.
Infection by Media
An overlooked method of insertion is media that is attached to the computer such as network drives, external hard disks, or even flash drives. This may result in the automatic propagation of such threats. There are several ways to disable the Windows autorun feature, and these differ depending on the operating system.
Infection by Email
Additionally, use extreme caution when opening email, especially in Outlook. In some instances, graphics code is used to enable the virus’ execution. Newer versions of Outlook do not typically automatically display images. However, if using older versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2007, this feature can be disabled by navigating to Tools | Trust Center, highlighting the Automatic Download option, and selecting, “Don’t Download Pictures Automatically in HTML E-Mail Messages or RSS.” Another tip in relation to email is to use discretion in opening and click email links or attachments. If there are hyperlinks in the email, manually enter the desired web page in the Internet browser rather than clicking on suspicious links.
Most virus can be removed remotely read more in Remote Computer Repair Services Without Leaving Your Home or Business.
As you can see, cyberspace can be a dangerous place to be. However, as long as proper preventative measures are taken, there are significant benefits that greatly outweigh the risks of surfing the Internet. Technology is something that should be enjoyed, not endured. So take the above information into consideration while navigating the World Wide Web. And as always, happy surfing!