If you follow the Network Bees blog, you will have read our article on the most common signs of a malware infection in computers. We have also written articles on 10 of the most common types of malware that can be found out there. Some of our readers asked us to produce some more articles on the subject, and this one looks at some of the ways through which viruses and other forms of malicious software (malware) spread from one computer to the other.
How Malware Spreads
Below is how malware spreads from one computer to the other;
- Through the internet: When you visit an infected website
If you are like the majority of people across the globe, you probably visit several websites on a daily basis. This is one of the ways through which malware spreads across the globe.
Hackers and cyber criminals use infected websites to spread malware from one computer to the other.Each time that you visit an infected website you expose your own computer to potential infection.
Once your own computer has been infected by viruses, it becomes a repository, through which malware can spread to other computers. This way, a single piece of malicious software can move from one corner of the globe to the other in no time.
Have a Strong Anti-Malware
This is the major reason why every computer in the world should have a strong anti-malware program. At Network Bees, we use Malwarebytes antimalware, which, arguably, is the best antivirus that can be found out there.
Malwarebytes is suitable for both individual and business uses, and protects you from all types of malware, including ransomware, adware, viruses, spyware, Trojans and much more.
Infected websites are how malware spreads and having a strong antimalware is one of the ways through which you can protect yourself.
- How Malware Spreads: Through email attachments
Email attachments are another way through which malware spreads from one computer to the other. With over 2.5 billion people using email around the world, it is not surprising that this mode of communication is a favorite way through which the people who create malware attempt to inflict maximum harm. So, how do cyber criminals attack your PC through email?
Never Open Suspicious Attachments
Each day, multitudes across the globe receive unsolicited emails that contain attachments. It is by opening these attachments that most people expose themselves and their computers to attacks.
That is one of the reasons why you are advised never to open suspicious attachments, even if yo have been promised untold riches, following the death of that uncle or aunt whom you have never even heard of.
- Through Removable Devices
Still wondering about how malware spreads from one PC to the other? Removable devices are another major way through which malware spreads between computers. Yes, those handy little devices that we all love to carry around and use. Almost every computer that is in existence today has USB ports.
It is also a fact that most people across the globe use USB flash drives to port data from one computer to the other.Removable devices are a favorite for the creators of the malicious pieces of software that lurk across the internet to spread viruses.
- When You Download Suspicious Files
Another way through which viruses spread is through the downloading of suspicious files. Each day thousands of media files are transferred across the internet. Unfortunately, most of these are accessed using means that are of questionable legality.
This includes through Usenet and Torrents. For most people, the temptation that comes from having free access to the latest movies, by far, overrides any worries about having their computers exposed to viruses.
Not surprising, the creators of malicious software have seized on this fact to propagate viruses. When you download movies and other files using these platforms, you, therefore, expose your computer and yourself to malware attacks.
- When You Download Infected Pieces of Software (Freeware and Shareware).
If you are like most people across the world, you probably are reticent about parting with your money; particular when it comes to buying software over the internet. That is one of the reason why sites that promote freeware and shareware have, over the past few year, become so popular.
This trend is only natural. Why buy a piece of software when you can get another that comes free, right? Freeware, as it turns out, is one of the major ways through which computer viruses spread across the globe. That is hardly surprising. It takes time, money and effort to create a piece of software. So why would someone give it away?
Most of the unwanted programs that come attached to freeware and shareware are not overtly malicious; you are actually asked, as an example to confirm that you wish to install this or that browser add-on. These are some of the programs that are responsible for showing you unsolicited advertisements (adware), collecting information about your online activities and much more.
The Importance of Protecting Yourself
Having discussed how malware spreads from one computer to the other, the importance of protecting your PC, and, by extension, yourself from attacks can never be overemphasized. This applies whether or not your computer is connected to the internet. Unless you can completely isolate it, by disabling all removable ports, your computer is bound to be exposed in one way or the other, even if it has no access to the internet.
How to Protect Yourself
There are several ways through which you can protect yourself from the threats that lurk across the internet. Most of them involve taking commonsense measures; not opening suspicious attachments in email, not visiting suspicious websites, always having an antivirus program on your computer and keeping it up to date, using a firewall and many other steps. If you do not already have a strong anti-malware program, we recommend that you try out Malwarebytes. As we have already mentioned, it is the best way through which you can protect your online presence from the many threats that can be found on the World Wide Web.