In recent months we have seen some of clients effected by malware. Malware, or malicious software, is bad software, coded for the purpose of doing something negative to your computer. Many times a person won’t be aware their computer has been breached. There are many types of malware, some of which will attempt to hold you at ransom in a method of trying to force you to pay money to decrypt files the software encrypts after accessing your machine.
People unintentionally get malware through a variety of ways including the download of unsafe files and by clicking on links from unsafe sources. Malware can also capture user names and passwords to be used for a variety of reasons. Quite often spammers capture email information and utilize a person’s email address for spamming purposes.
The best way to avoid Malware is to only click on links that you trust and avoid downloading files from non-reputable sources. Non-reputable sources can vary but use your instincts. If a website looks outdated, has excessive advertising, isn’t well laid out, or just doesn’t feel right then it is better to be safe and just leave rather than risk infection of your computer.
Pro Tip: If you hover over a link with your mouse you will see the destination URL, or final webpage, that this link will send you to. (Give it a try with the links below!) If it looks OK then you can proceed to click. Your intuition is your best friend here – if something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t.
In order to protect yourself from these sinister attacks, we recommend that you always have an up to date anti-virus / security software actively running on your device. In addition, you may benefit from running programs like Malware Bytes or Norton Power Eraser on a regular basis.
In the event that you do locate malware on your computer, clean your computer completely and then proceed to update all passwords for all accounts accessed via the infected device.