We all know the classic vampire line, I want to suck your blood. But have you ever heard of a vampire virus that wants to suck the life out of your devices? Malware is the computer virus that acts like a vampire, trying to drain your systems of their resources and steal your personal information. Learn how you can save your neck—AKA, your computer—from malware, the vampire virus.
Malware: the vampire virus
What exactly is malware and how dangerous is this virus? Malware is an umbrella term for any malicious software, like viruses, that can damage or destroy your computer, files, or even networks. If your computer becomes infected, malware can access your personal information, financial data, and other sensitive information.
In fact, it’s possible that anything you type in or enter while using your computer, might become fair game for malware. Hackers can also use malware to attack other connected networks, and they can even try to buy cryptocurrency using your information.
Why does malware suck?
So what’s so horrible about malware? According to Malwarebytes, this virus “seeks to invade, damage, or disable computers, computer systems, networks, tablets, and mobile devices, often by taking partial control over a device’s operations.” Basically, malware drains your resources and personal information—just like Dracula!
Cybercriminals use malware to make money off you, sabotage your ability to get work done, make a political statement, or for the bragging rights. While malware can’t damage the physical hardware of your system, it can steal, encrypt, or delete your data, and spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or consent.
Types of malware
As hackers and viruses evolve with time, new types of malware crop up to make your life harder. It’s important to be aware of the latest versions so you can keep an eye out for them. These are just a few of the most popular types of malware:
- Worm malware: This type of malware can copy itself without any human interaction. It’s not host-dependent, meaning it doesn’t need to attach itself to a software program to wreak havoc.
- Trojan malware: Trojans are disguised as software, applications, or files to trick users into downloading. Once installed, a trojan can damage, disrupt, steal, or inflict other harm on your data or network.
- Ransomware: As the name suggests, this is a type of malware that comes with a ransom. It locks and encrypts your device or data and demands a ransom to restore access.
- Bots or botnets: This malware gains access to devices through a piece of malicious coding. Botnets can directly hack devices, and cybercriminals can even take remote control of devices.
- Spyware: Spyware infiltrates devices without the owner’s knowledge for the purpose of spying. They can track log in and password information or collect sensitive information to be used for fraudulent purposes.
How to avoid falling victim to malware
Anyone can become a victim of a malware attack. However, you can take certain measures to avoid infecting your devices. For example, you should know how identify a phishing email and other suspicious material. It’s also vital to keep your computer’s operating system and antivirus programs updated. Make sure that your data is always backed up. Above all, use caution when downloading apps from online sources to lower your risk of downloading any malware in the future.
Some computers have built-in features that help you scan for malware. Check your computer’s security settings to see if there’s a way to detect threats. If that feature doesn’t appear in your settings, contact the manufacturer to determine if your computer can scan for malware and how to do it.
How to get rid of malware and other vampire viruses
What happens if you accidentally download malware onto your device? Luckily, it’s not the end of the world. There are several ways to get rid of malware. Some of these removal methods are built right into your computer’s system. Others may require you to use third-party cybersecurity software to eliminate the malware.
There are also do-it-yourself methods, such as deleting dangerous programs you may have downloaded and restoring your computer to a safe, malware-free state. Your computer may also require a factory reset. Some of these procedures can be tedious, so try any of them at your own risk. If you don’t feel comfortable making the fixes yourself, it’s always a good idea to hire a pro to do them for you.
To learn more about how you can help protect yourself and your devices from data-sucking viruses, visit the Quantum Fiber blog.
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