Malware: how it works, and how to protect from it
Malware, the short version for "malicious software", is code that was built with the purpose of breaking into a device, be it a tablet, a smart phone, or a computer, and then gain control over it and/or over its data. It's a generic term that can be used for a great variety of software that was created for evil purposes.
Once that the attacker has taken control over your device, he can use it to perform a great variety of mischievous activities. To begin with, your device may be enrolled in a huge army of zombie computers, which will execute commands that are issued from a remote server, attacking other computers or clicking various ads, and thus helping the attackers make money.
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Often, malware is used to get your login information for various accounts. The attackers will then use your PayPal account to purchase products and services, or they will get access to your bank account and draw money from there.
If you are a celebrity, an attacker who has gotten control over your passwords may log into your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and post messages, as if he or she were the owner of those accounts.
Regrettably, often times these attacks take place because of our actions. It is true that sometimes our computers can get infected even without us doing anything wrong, though. This is why it's mandatory to keep all the applications and the operating system up to date, installing all the new patches as soon as they are released.
As you can guess, this excludes "warez" software, a term that is used for unlicensed, and thus illegal copies of the applications or the operating system. So, the first step is to ensure that you're only using 100% legal and up-to-date software for all your devices. Yes, if you've rooted your phone, for example, you may be in trouble.
However, even if all your software is up to date, your devices can still get infected. Here's a real-life example. People visit various sites that may look legitimate, but will display a small pop-up window, telling them that their computers are infected with a virus, and that a free antivirus solution is available on that site.
The reality is totally different, though. In fact, their computers aren't infected, and by installing that fake antivirus, they are actually infecting their computers.
Other attacks make use of emails. I don't know about you, but I've often received emails that looked legitimate, and were including either a web link or an attachment. The only problem is that those emails were sent by people I've never met before! Those unknown links led to malware download sites, and those attachments included malware as well.
Sometimes you may even receive emails from friends who tell you to download that attachment or click that link which leads to a dangerous website. In this case, the attackers have gotten the user and password information of your friend's email account, and they are now using it for their evil purposes.
So, resist the temptation to click any link or open any unsolicited attachment. If it's a real email that was sent by a friend, his or her message should be personalized, and not generic. Actually, sometimes your friend may be tricked into running a piece of software that seems to be useful, but includes a (hidden) harmful component as well, and may be tempted to share it with you. So, don't run any piece of software unless you have scanned it using one of the top line antiviruses and you are aware of the associated risks.
Unfortunately, modern malware uses stealthy techniques, similar to rootkits, managing to keeps itself hidden deep within the operating system. It can constantly change its behavior using metamorphic code, and thus be very persistent. Often times, it travels on USB sticks from one computer to the other.
Ransomware works by encrypting the entire hard drive, and then asking for a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. Attackers are thus able to make a lot of money without doing anything, even though researchers recommend that people should never pay the ransom money. Of course, things may change if we are talking about precious company data or information that should never reach the public eye.
Hopefully, you will stay safe by applying the advice that was provided in this article.
Apple will soon release a "breakthrough wireless speaker", which is supposed to provide an incredible listening experience.
It works in conjunction with an Apple Music subscription, and uses your voice to search and find the desired music tracks, read the news, get the weather details, and more.
I like this idea a lot, but I wonder whether the 7-inch tall speaker will have enough bass to please every person. I assume that due to its seven tweeters, high frequency reproduction isn't going to be a problem. More info.