Malware is short for “malicious software.” Its goal is to harm a device by extracting data or corrupting files. It can be spread through a physical data transportation device like a flash drive or through an infected link that will cause a device to become locked or unusable.
The most common tactic to make people click on these infectious links is to fool them into thinking there’s some sort of urgent matter that will be solved by clicking. For example, the link may say, “Warning, your device has been infected. Click this link to start a scan now.” As soon as you click on the link, the software will begin to download itself onto your computer or mobile device. Once the malware gets into the system, it will install harmful software. This can be the beginning of a whole myriad of issues that will follow.
- DO update your software
- DO make regular backups
- DO use strong passwords
- DO lock your laptop whenever you are away from your workstation
- DO double-check the sender’s email address matches who they claim to be
- DO have a follow-up conversation to verify whether the sender is who they state they are
- DO connect to the VPN when connected to public Wi-Fi
- DO contact your IT department if you can’t tell if an email is legitimate
- DO be vigilant about cyber security
- DO NOT click on suspicious links or attachments from senders that you don’t recognize
- DO NOT insert a USB flash drive into your PC that you found lying around
- DO NOT reveal sensitive personal or financial information to anyone over email
How do you know you have malware?
- Your device suddenly slows down, crashes, or displays repeated error messages
- Will not let you remove software
- Sends emails that you didn’t write
- Battery drains quicker
- New, unexpected, toolbars or icons show up in your browser or on the desktop
What you should do if you encounter a malware attack:
- Disconnect from the internet immediately!
- Reset your password
- Report the attack to the IT department so they can reimage and restore the device