The Top Ways Malware Infects Computers

Data loss, file encryption, stolen identities, compromised financial information….and the list goes on further. Malware becomes more complex every day, however, the ways that it enters our systems remains persistent.  Here are the most common ways that computers get viruses and other types of malware.

Online Ads

Ads that lead to malware, or Malvertising,  is not just reserved for ‘bad’ websites- many large and reputable websites contain ads with malware as well. This can happen one of two ways. One, through poor security on websites that online criminals learn to exploit. Second, criminals create ads that lead to websites that appear legitimate and gain a good reputation. After trust is gained, malware is later added to the site.

 New Variations and Updates to Existing Malware

There are hundreds of thousands of malware programs circulating around the globe. As new malware is created and changed, anti-virus companies have to create defenses for the malicious programs.; creating these defenses takes time. During the time it takes to detect new malware and update defenses, systems with antivirus programs still can go unprotected against the latest malware and variations.

Social Media      

Criminals have learned to use social media to scam users. After hacking into an account, they can trick users into clicking on bad links because messages appear to come from the users’ own friends; making the messages seem authentic. Hackers have other tactics for using social media as a way to spread malware. Here is a comprehensive list. http://www.combofix.org/list-of-malware-attacks-on-the-social-networking-sites.php

Mobile Malware : From Phone to PC      

Mobile malware continues to grow as more people use smartphones. Smartphone malware, by and large, tends to stay just on smartphones. However, some malware now has the ability to move from smart phones to PC’s. When an infected phone is plugged-in to a PC, the malware discreetly infects the PC as well. http://pocketnow.com/2014/01/24/android-pc-malware

Link Clicking / User Error              

Despite warnings, some people cannot resist not clicking on suspicious links and ads. If you are not expecting a package from UPS, but receive a package notification in your email, it is more than likely a scam. If you are solicited for free technical support, this is probably too good to be true. Users need to educate themselves and go with their instincts if something is suspicious because ,in today’s world of cybercrime and hacking, it probably is.