With computer users growing increasingly tech-savvy, cybercriminals have a problem. They know that it’s not easy to infect our desktops, laptops, and mobile devices with malware because we’re more circumspect about security and privacy. So, they’re relying on more sophisticated malware to complete their objectives.
The more you understand how deceptive programs work, the easier it will be to avoid them. Here are some common malicious programs that employ trickery:
Adware is a type of malware that can hit your screen with popups or snoop on your browsing activity to help its authors make money. Although adware isn’t particularly dangerous, it can disrupt your computing experience by slowing down your browser, computer, or Internet connection. Cousins of adware include unwanted toolbars, plugins, and extensions. Adware usually hides behind freeware, so be careful about the websites you visit and the programs you download.
Computer worms are similar to viruses. They’re destructive programs that can corrupt data and crash systems. However, unlike viruses, worms can spread without human interaction across a computer or a network. Computer worms often trick you by arriving as email attachments. ILOVEYOU, a prolific computer worm that hit over ten million PCs, spread as an email attachment with the subject line ILOVEYOU. Unsuspecting users opened the email only to get a malware infection.
To protect your system from worms, avoid suspicious emails and downloads at all costs. Please also update your software regularly to patch vulnerabilities that worms can exploit.
Ransomware attacks are regularly in the news these days. Ransomware locks your computers until you pay a ransom to a hacker. Of course, no one willingly installs ransomware on their computers. Cybercriminals often trick their targets into accepting ransomware through social engineering attacks that play on human psychology. For example, they may send useful-looking emails, text messages, or software that’s hiding ransomware.
A Trojan banker is a type of Trojan horse virus or malware that can target some of the following financial data:
- Login credentials to bank accounts
- Login credentials to ecommerce websites
- Credit card information
- Bill pay data
- And more
To avoid a Trojan banker infection, watch out for phishing emails, popup ads, shady attachments, malicious websites, and freeware.
A Trojan IM targets instant messaging apps like Skype, Telegram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Trojan IMs steal login credentials to help cyber criminals spy on you or commit man-in-the-middle attacks. Use a good mobile phone antivirus program and only download verified apps from official sources to steer clear of such Trojans.
Like a Trojan IM, an SMS Trojan attacks your mobile phone. But instead of stealing usernames and passwords, an SMS Trojan uses your phone to send, receive, and intercept text messages. A bad actor could use an SMS Trojan to play pranks, blackmail you, steal confidential information, or launch a man-in-the-middle attack.
Defending your security and privacy against malware that uses trickery isn’t easy. You must always remain vigilant and watch out for red flags. In addition, use top anti-malware software to shield your computers and mobile devices against deceptive programs.