Malware is malicious software designed to steal, damage, or deny access to your data or devices. It is an industry that is estimated to steal a billion dollars each year with almost 4,000 attacks daily. Malicious malware attacks often come through email attachments or links made to look like a company or person you know. It can also come through sites as you surf the web.
Often, people believe malicious websites will stand out with poorly designed sites and hundreds of ads. But even the most trusted of sites can carry infections. Sites with millions of visitors each day are favorite targets of hackers.
There are several ways hackers can try to infiltrate your device through websites. A drive-by download is one that automatically installs in the victim’s computer without prompting the user. How? By using exploit kits to examine software and operating systems to find weak spots. When it finds an opening, it uses it to download malware.
Another way malware makes its way in is through malicious advertising. Hackers can hack ad networks and spread malware to millions of users. They can cause the computer to be redirected to different sites and create pop-ups.
Free download sites for software can also be a hotspot for malware. People come to those sites looking for a free download of software that otherwise would not be free, and may later find more than they bargained for. Be particularly cautious of confusing or complex download methods.
Protecting yourself from malware starts by sticking with reputable sites. Most popular sites have protections in place. But that may not be enough. Make sure that you have up-to-date antivirus anti-malware, and keep a cautious eye when visiting a new site.