New malware wave: protect yourself effectively against viruses, trojans& co.

New malware wave: Protect yourself effectively against viruses, Trojans & Co

Lately, the reports have been piling up again – a veritable wave of malware is flooding Internet users. And in fact, almost everyone who is on the Internet has heard the terms "virus", "Trojan" or "malware" before. But what exactly is behind it?

The fact is that malware is one of the biggest risks to IT systems, and our systems are exposed to a veritable flood of virtual malware these days. The term malware refers to all programs such as viruses, worms and Trojans that have been developed for the sole purpose of causing damage to computers and spying on the users of the infected systems. The cybercriminals’ motivation ranges from greed to espionage and retaliation to pleasure.

Viruses and other "pests" – malware at a glance

The collective term malware includes all harmful programs that have been developed to harm your systems. All these malware work differently and enter your devices through different ways.

One of the most well-known forms of malware is probably the virus. The fact that computer viruses can cause considerable damage was demonstrated, for example, by the well-known "Code Red" virus, which caused damage of 2.6 billion US dollars back in 2001. Viruses are the oldest form of malicious software and there are many different types of viruses. The commonality of the different types lies in the propagation routine. Viruses can reproduce themselves and thus be transmitted from host to host. Viruses are usually attached to executable programs and thus infect individual files or entire operating systems. If an application infected with a virus is started, the virus is also activated.

Worms are similar to viruses in terms of how they work. They spread mainly via networks and removable media, such as USB sticks. Just like viruses, computer worms also have the ability to replicate themselves. The difference between worms and viruses is that worms do not require a host program to run. They actively penetrate new systems and – unlike viruses – do not have to be activated first.

Trojan horses (Trojans for short) are also a very well-known and widespread form of malware. The origin of the name for the malware is metaphorical for the Trojan horse of Greek mythology. In Homer’s tales, the Trojan horse was used as a ruse by the Greeks to defeat the Trojans in warfare. Malicious software works in a similar way. Trojans are camouflaged as useful software, which pursues however completely different goals than the given ones. When a Trojan is activated, cybercriminals can spy on and steal confidential data and gain backdoor access to the compromised system.

"Vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications make it easier for cybercriminals to implement malware."

How malware spreads?

A recent study by Bitkom, the industry association for the German information and telecommunications sector, found that 68 percent of companies in Germany have been victims of data theft, industrial espionage or sabotage in the past two years. For companies in particular, such attacks naturally pose a considerable risk.

But how does malware spread?? Basically, there are different ways to be "infected. One of the most common ways, for example, is to visit a malicious website. Visiting such a website can trigger so-called "drive-by downloads". A drive-by download describes an unnoticed download in which malware is downloaded. This often happens via links in social media messengers or e-mails and often even goes unnoticed, as there is no additional query as to whether this download is desired. Once the malicious program has been downloaded unnoticed, it unfolds its true effect and compromises the user’s device.

In general, social engineering plays a particularly important role in cybercrime. Various methods are used to gain the trust of certain individuals in order to obtain private data such as login names, passwords and even bank details, or to spread malware.

A particularly popular example of social engineering is "Robin Sage," a fictional character created by New York IT expert Thomas Ryan. She received confidential information on email addresses, account data and relationship networks from the military via social networks. This example shows how quickly confidential information and malware can be distributed in the age of social networking.

However, malware often spreads in a very banal way. For example, via connecting an infected USB flash drive or email attachments. Here it is important to always be critical and make sure there are no vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications, as this makes it easier for cybercriminals to implement malware.

"You can tell that your computer has been infected by signs such as reduced system performance or an increase in pop-up ads."

Detect malware& protect yourself properly

When you have a cold, it often helps to take medication to get rid of annoying viruses. If a computer is infected by malware in the form of viruses, there is unfortunately usually no suitable "medication" available. But before you can take action against malware, you must first recognize it as such.

However, malware usually remains undetected for the time being. It often leaves no traces and you can use your PC or smartphone as usual. However, there are sometimes signs by which you can recognize that your computer has been infected. This includes, above all, reduced system performance or the increase in pop-up ads. Even a change in the browser home page can be an indication of malware.

So how to protect yourself effectively against virtual malware? First of all, the correct handling of the customs of the World Wide Web is a basic requirement for protection against viruses and co. Be particularly careful here with unknown links and dubious websites. You should also be suspicious of unfamiliar computers, e-mail attachments and removable media at first, and check before using, or. Open it, make sure it’s a trusted provider, and then open it again. Sender acts.

Checklist for defense against virtual pests

Malware puts the protection of your smartphone, computer or tablet at great risk. Therefore, the right protection measures are essential to ensure the security of your systems and data. This checklist is intended to show you which precautions you should definitely take to ward off malware.

  • Anti-malware software: Anti-malware software is standard for effective protection against malware and should be installed on every computer.
  • Firewall: Firewalls are an absolute must for corporate network security. Although they cannot guarantee absolute security, they do ensure that as few points of attack as possible are created.
  • Ad blockers: Very often, dubious advertisements circulate on the net, which you can use to infect yourself with malware at the click of a mouse. Therefore, always use an ad blocker in your browser.
  • Secure passwords: Even if it seems cumbersome to generate a new password for every account and every websit login. But it is necessary to protect your sensitive data from cyber attacks. Passwords such as "123456" or "hallo123" are extreme negative examples. Choose complex passwords or whole sentences that contain letters and numbers, as well as special characters.
  • Safety Updates: Without regular updates, even the best anti-virus software will be of no use at all. That’s why it’s especially important to keep your applications up to date.

Security in virtual environments is essential for any business today. Leave nothing to chance when it comes to IT security and rely on a professional who supports you with the latest technologies and the highest security standards.

You would like to be advised on the subject of IT security? Talk to us. We are happy to help you.

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