Virus and Malware Threats
News Malware Attacks
Cybercriminals often use current news stories and global events to target people with malware.
One example is hackers using the wave of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak to target individuals with malware. Hackers send out emails that are disguised as legitimate information about the outbreak. Readers are prompted to click a link to learn more about the information, but the link contains malware that copies the files on your device and steals your personal information.
Research currently focuses on the spread of this malware in Japan. Still, it will become an issue worldwide during any kind of newsworthy outbreak.
Fake Windows Updates (Hidden Ransomware)
Hackers have been increasingly sending emails that instruct readers to install urgent Windows OS updates. The emails trick readers into installing the “latest” Windows updates, which are actually ransomware ‘.exe’ files in disguise.
The ransomware contained in these emails is known as “Cyborg”. It encrypts all of your files and programs and demands a ransom payment to un-encrypt the files.
Think Before You Click.
Avoid websites that provide pirated material. Do not open an email attachment from somebody or a company that you do not know. Do not click on a link in an unsolicited email. Always hover over link (especially one with a URL shortened) before you click to see where the link is really taking you. If you have to download a file from the Internet, an email, an FTP site, a file-sharing service, etc., scan it before you run it. A good anti-virus software will do that automatically, but make sure it is being done.
Open Emails, Even Coming From Friends, Carefully
A virus attack on your computer can be avoided by scanning each and every email attachment before opening them even if your friends have sent them. Often times when a virus travels by email, it comes in attachment form, especially video files. If the scan has any suspicion about the attachment, then you should avoid opening that attachment.
Watch Out For Clickbait Scams
Scammers use every opportunity to try to take advantage of you, including stories about beloved celebrities. For example, the recent death of Kobe Bryant has many fans reeling and vulnerable. You might see pointers to stories about stars with descriptions containing words like, “unbelievable,” “shocking,” or “sensational.” This is known as “clickbait.”
If you see this kind of email, stop and think before clicking the associated link. You should never click links in email without knowing the sender and without knowing where the link will take you. Doing so can result in malware being installed on your computer or being taken to a site where personal information is requested.
The same is true if you see such pointers in social media. Even if these descriptions look like they’re generated by friends, don’t take the (click)bait!
How do I know if I am infected?
1. Slow-down of your computer’s performance
Are your files and apps taking a long time to load? Is your computer taking a longer time to start and runs slowly once it does? If so, it’s possible a virus is infecting your operating system.
2. Endless pop-ups and spam
Malicious pop-ups and spam may secretly install spyware that could hijack your browser or steal your passwords and other personal information without your knowledge.
3. You’re locked out of your computer
If you’re unable to gain access to settings and files on your own computer or you can’t log on or off malware has likely taken over.
4. Changes to your homepage
Is your homepage randomly switching to another website? Viruses can implement changes to your homepage and create error messages, browser errors, and shortcut files.
5. Unknown programs starting on your computer
Adding icons and toolbars that you didn’t set up is just the tip of the iceberg. If unknown programs load when you turn on your computer or another connected device, turn it off.
6. Mass emails sent from your email account
Have you ever received an odd email from a friend that made you suspect someone hacked into their email account? If your email’s sent folder contains messages you didn’t send, your social media accounts have posts you didn’t make, or you can’t log into your email or social media accounts, your computer has likely been compromised.
7. Your security software or spam filter has been disabled
If your antivirus program or security software has stopped working and you didn’t disable it, it’s possible that malware has taken over.
8. Your battery drains quickly
As the virus continues to multiply, it uses resources from your computer and creates more activity on your computer. As a result, your battery life is diminished.
Think you are infected? Contact your IT Department immediately!
The quicker it is caught, the lower the impact on your company!