Understanding Malware and How to Protect Yourself

Malicious software, or malware is a broad umbrella term used for specific programs or software that are hostile and intrusive to your device. Malware can crash, reboot, and slow down the function of your device. 

Malware includes but is not limited to email viruses, adware, and spyware. Here are examples of how each type of malware works. 

Email Viruses 

Most email viruses attack when the user clicks on an attachment or link sent in an email. 

An infected attachment will automatically open and run a code to send and install a virus. Any attachment can contain a virus even if it looks safe and familiar. Email viruses will crash servers, steal your data, and overrun your inbox with emails. 

Adware 

Adware shows up in the form of an advertisement. 

This type of malware usually attacks through pop-ups and banners while running an application on the internet. If adware gets ahold of your device, it will install itself and take over your internet browser. It can make itself permanent on your computer while gathering your data and displaying a multitude of ads, rendering your browser almost unusable. 

Spyware 

Spyware is exactly as it sounds – spying on your computer. 

Spyware is dangerous because it will install itself on your device without your knowledge. It can monitor all of the activity on your computer. In severe cases, it will try and take control of your computer. It can install software, change settings, shut down WIFI connection, and redirect internet browsers.

This is all very overwhelming and can make you feel trapped, but the good news is there’s a way to protect yourself. You can avoid opening unknown links and attachments, install a firewall, and find a security program that best suits your needs.

Malware is at the very definition malicious, but the good news is that it can be prevented.