A computer virus can quickly ruin your day by infecting and corrupting your data, sometimes leaving your computer inoperable. Reversing the damage to your data can often be impossible. Other malware, like ransomware, Trojans, and spyware, can also steal your sensitive information and compromise your email, social media, and financial accounts.
Downloading good anti-malware software, security patches, and operating system updates can shield you from a computer virus or two. But it’s also critical to avoid computer virus infection vectors:
Macro viruses can be pretty dangerous. Not only can they corrupt data, email themselves to your contacts, but they can also drop more threatening malware. Macro viruses infect documents like Microsoft Word and Excel. So, scan your work files for malware when copying them from a colleague. And if a document asks you to activate the macro, refuse because it could be a virus.
Try not to lend your USB drive to others and avoid borrowing them because they can be a main infection vector. In addition, avoid checking mysterious drives lying around the office, as it could be part of a social engineering attack. When you must use someone else’s portable storage device, scan it for viruses and other malware.
Threat actors send millions of emails carrying malware, like viruses, in corrupt attachments every day. Often, such emails use phishing techniques to trick you into opening them. For example, a hacker may send an email that appears to be from your company’s IT department carrying a virus. Take advantage of spam filters and email security tools to defend yourself from phishing emails.
Text and Social Media Messages
Messages sent over text messages or your social media inbox from strangers can be an attack vector for malicious software. The messages can carry malware in files or have links to malicious websites that trigger dangerous downloads.So, never open suspicious or unknown messages, even out of curiosity.
Although you may save a little money initially by trying pirated software, you may pay for it dearly later because pirated software is one of the top infection vectors for malware. Not only does it hide viruses, but it may also carry ransomware and spyware —ransomware can lock your company’s computer and cripple operations; spyware can spy on you or your customers’ confidential information for extortion or blackmail.
Even if pirated software isn’t functioning as a Trojan horse for malware, it’s always best to use licensed software for the security updates. As you probably know, most pirated software can’t get patches that plug vulnerabilities. Hackers can use these vulnerabilities to attack your system. For example, even though Microsoft released a fix for WannaCry, the ransomware strain still infects unpatched operating systems.
A Trojan horse is malware that tricks people by disguising itself, usually as authentic-looking software. For example, a mobile app that appears legitimate but secretly carries a virus can be a Trojan. Even when downloading apps from legitimate platforms like Google Play or Apple’s App Store, please check reviews and stay away from new software.
As users grow more tech-savvy about cybersecurity, hackers try to find creative ways to infect our systems with viruses and other kinds of malware. While you don’t have to become obsessed, staying watchful can boost your security.