What is malware

Malware, or malicious software, is a type of a program or a file that is harmful to your computer. Scammers use it to compromise your device or its functions, steal your data, etc.

For example, your device can be injected with malware which searches for sensitive information (like passwords or bank account details) and sends it back to the attacker.

What are the types of malware

The most common types of malware are:

  • Computer virus is a form of malware designed to damage the device.
  • Spyware is a type of malware designed to spy on users’ activities.
  • Trojan horse is a malicious program disguised to look like legitimate software.
  • Bot is a software designed to perform a specific operation automatically. Bots are not always malicious, sometimes they are used for internet auctions, online gaming, etc.
  • Bug is an error in programming designed to affect program’s behavior.
  • Rootkit is a type of malware used to infiltrate and monitor systems.
  • Worm is a type of malware which duplicates itself to spread to other computers.
  • Adware is a type of malware which automatically delivers annoying advertisements.
  • Ransomware is a type of software that prevents users from accessing their system or information. Scammers use this type to demand a ransom.

How do I get malware

There are many methods on how malicious software gets into your device. Hackers get crafty to think of new ways to get you. Commonly, you get malware if you:

  • Accidentally click on an infected website
  • Download an infected file
  • Open an infected email or message
  • Do not update your operating system, programs, and apps
  • Install malicious software that was bundled with other software

Does a VPN protect from malware

In a way, a VPN doesn’t prevent malware but helps fight it. How? A VPN blocks ports – so that malware can no longer maintain a connection and send commands or collect data. Paired with specific features i.e., CleanWeb™ by Surfshark it will block malicious domains that may lead to a virus infecting your computer.

What happens when malware is installed on a router

There are two most common scenarios after a router gets infected:

  • An operator uses your router to create botnets and use them for DDos (distributed denial of service) attacks or similar activities
  • An attacker injects malware which compromises your internet traffic

How to know if a device is infected with malware

There are many warning signs which could mean that your device is infected. You should pay attention if:

  • Your device starts slowing down for no reason
  • You started getting more ads than usual
  • Your device starts freezing and crashing
  • Odd pop-ups
  • Homepage on your browser was changed
  • Internet traffic started increasing
  • Security software was disabled
  • New icons appear on your desktop although you did not install anything
  • Unfamiliar error messages start coming

What to do when malware is detected

After you detected malware on your device, you should try backing up your personal files, if it is possible.

Next, disconnect your device from the internet, and do a little research to get a grasp of what kind of malware you have. It is best to do that using another uninfected device. Do not worry if you find it hard to identify a particular malware. There are plenty of tools to remove infections.

Then, scan your device with multiple programs until no malware is found. After your device is clean again, install security software to prevent similar attacks in the future.