The best ways to fight against Malware

Since the appearance of the first malware in the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of attacks have taken place around the world. Initially, malware is created by individuals to prove their skills or denounce security breaches. But nowadays, these programs are created with financial goals.

What is Malware?

Malware (abbreviation for « malicious software ») is a term that describes all kinds of destructive software that can cause significant damage to data, computer systems, or access to an unauthorized network. It is basically code developed by cyberattackers in the purpose of harming businesses or individuals. The common forms of malware include :

Viruses

A virus is a type of malware designed to collect, delete, or modify personal information on a computer before replicating and affecting other computer systems. Viruses can be difficult to eliminate and can destroy entire computer systems.

Worms

A worm is a malware that can be quickly copied and propagated on any device on the network. It infects the device using a downloaded file or network connection, then spreads exponentially. A worm can severely disrupt the operation of a device and cause data loss.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to publish or block access to the victim’s data and is accompanied by a request for a « ransom » for it to be unlocked. Ransomware usually spreads via junk-mail or from an infected website to your computer. Individuals, governments and businesses have been victims of ransomware : Locky in February 2016, WannaCry in May 2017 and Notpetya in June 2017.

Trojan horse

The Trojan horse is a malicious program. Once downloaded, the Trojan horse can access sensitive data and then modify, block or delete it. This could seriously damage the performance of a device. Unlike viruses and current worms, Trojan viruses are not designed to replicate.

What are the dangers of malware ?

Some malware is more dangerous than others, but it is mostly designed to benefit their authors. It is used to steal confidential data such as user identity, passwords, bank details, etc.

How does malware spread?

Malware can spread in different ways and cause a device to be infected. It is often sent via email, a malicious URL link, illegal downloads, an infected USB stick, etc.

How to protect against malware?

Unfortunately, there is no way to protect yourself 100% against malware, but there are several ways to reduce the risk of infection.

Firstly, it is now essential to install an antivirus software and a firewall on your computers. The antivirus must be updated regularly. You can also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt all communications on your computer and protect yourself from hackers, especially when using a public Wi-Fi network.

Many attacks use messaging and social engineering techniques to get employees to download malware or to disclose usernames and passwords. As a result, companies are strongly advised to train their employees so that they can identify attacks and defend themselves. Prevention is one of the best ways to protect yourself from attacks. Here are some good practices to set up : do not open files from unreliable sources; download files only from publisher sites as these are the only reliable sources; back up your valuable data in multiple versions on external media; keep your software up-to-date; never open an attachment or a fraudulent place in a phishing email; never reply to e-mails requesting personal and confidential information; use complicated passwords that cannot be guessed and do not save them. If you are the victim of a ransomware cyberattack, never pay the ransom and immediately disconnect compromised equipment from the network.

 

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A propos de Mariatou HABOU-BAKAR

Etudiante en Master 2 Commerce Électronique

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