According to stats, there was a 69% jump in the rate of malware attacks in 2020, compared to the last recorded in 2019. Let’s just say that the total losses were recorded in $4.2 billion, and it keeps spiking in number as of now in 2021. For users to be able to take preventative measures against malware attacks, they need to first understand what it is about, where it strikes, why it takes place and then how you can prevent it. With that said, let’s first discuss what a malware attack is.
What is malware and a malware attack?
There are different kinds of malware. It is a kind of code or software that hackers use to disrupt or penetrate the systems of other user devices through a variety of forms. With discussion of the kinds of forms, a malware attack is the byproduct of it, which the attacker uses to infiltrate a person’s device, network and other means. These kinds of malware attacks often go unseen or undetected. It happens subtly and right under your nose. You will be surprised to know that malware ranges from 10 different categories divided according to how much damage the attacker wants to cause.
A few kinds of malware attacks are simpler than others that combine more than two categories of attacks. For a little extensive knowledge, take a look below to see the different kinds of malware.
Kinds of malware
As mentioned above, there are different kinds of malware attacks or rather categories of malware to keep an eye out for. They are:
- Ransomware: Ransomware at the moment is the number one most widely used malware by attackers. It’s mostly categorized as the worst because it shuts users out from entering their own devices or data. It basically means full take over or hostage. Until and unless the victim complies to pay a certain fee or meet a demand, the attacker threatens to delete or expose all data on the user’s device. Now, there are also subcategories to ransomware attacks. It ranges from locker ransomware that restricts access to a plagued device. Then there is crypto ransomware, which is the more dangerous kind that restricts users from accessing their stolen data or devices.
- Virus: a Virus is the absolute oldest kind of malware, in fact most users often mistake all kinds of malware attacks with a virus. But, no, it’s a subcategory of malware. When infected with a virus, your entire PC system operation is altered or manipulated. We all know what a viral infection is, attaching itself to a host and spreading rapidly. The same can be said for a virus malware attack. It enters your device or system via a program or software, attaches itself and can spread to other devices through the user or attacker itself.
- Adware: Ad malware is a malware attack that often occurs through advertisements or the ad links you click on. Certain adware attacks also take place simultaneously to spyware attacks, which brings us to the next type.
- Spyware: when your device or system is infected with spyware, placed by the ads you click on, or links you click, it can then spy and take in sensitive information logged on your device. Once enabled by the hacker, your calls can be recorded, video cameras can be enabled, information logged or spied on and so forth. It’s the kind of malware attack businesses or high-profile individuals need to stay clear of.
These are just a few types that are the most common. Now, let’s take a look at how you can prevent them.
Few steps to prevent malware attacks
- Use a VPN! It doesn’t have to be expensive either. It’s better to have a little extra security than to squander over what works. I used the NordVPN free trial to first check how it performs. There are many other affordable options apart from it.
- If you’re not interested in a VPN, you could go for just an antivirus that limits the rate of malware attacks on your device and data.
- Make sure you update all your software, your system and your device. Older versions of apps or software are vulnerable and often attract bugs.
- If you’re downloading apps, make sure to go through the settings and tweak around with only what’s necessary to be enabled. Disable the rest.
- Make sure that you scan through all your emails and messages. The average person receives a large amount of spam messages a day. Some might seem legit, but don’t be too quick to jump to them.