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In last week’s blog article, we delved into the world of phishing scams and offered insights on how to protect yourself from falling victim to them. Today, we turn our attention to another digital menace that threatens your online security: Malware.


What is it?


Malware, short for "malicious software," is a broad term that encompasses various types of harmful software designed to infiltrate, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, and devices. Cybercriminals employ malware to compromise your personal data, steal sensitive information, disrupt your online activities, and sometimes even take control of your devices.

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Examples of Malware: Know the Threats


Malware comes in different forms, each with a unique set of functions and objectives. Here are some common types of malware you should be aware of:


Viruses: These are programs that infect legitimate files, replicate themselves, and spread to other files and systems.


Trojans: Disguised as harmless software, Trojans trick users into installing them. Once inside, they can create backdoors for cybercriminals to access your system.


Ransomware: This particularly malicious type of malware encrypts your files and demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.


Spyware: As the name suggests, spyware secretly gathers your personal information and transmits it to the attacker.


Adware: Adware bombards your system with unwanted advertisements and can sometimes track your online behavior.


Worms: Worms self-replicate and spread across networks, often causing significant disruption.

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The Malware Landscape in the United States


Malware is indeed, a menace. In recent years, our country has witnessed a surge in cyberattacks that exploit various forms of malware. Here are some eye-opening statistics:


  • In 2022, malware attacks cost U.S. businesses over $4.5 billion in losses.


  • Ransomware attacks saw a 62% increase in the U.S. in the past year, with more than 2,400 reported incidents.


  • The average cost of a malware attack for a U.S. company was approximately $2.6 million.


Recognizing and Avoiding Malware Attacks


Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your operating system, applications, and security software to protect against known vulnerabilities that malware exploits.


Be Cautious of Attachments and Links: Never open email attachments or click on links from unknown or suspicious sources. Verify the sender's identity before taking any action.


Use Strong Passwords: Secure your accounts with strong, unique passwords. Consider using a password manager to keep track of your credentials.


Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Wherever possible, enable 2FA for an extra layer of security when logging into your accounts.


Beware of Unusual Behavior: If your device starts behaving oddly, such as slowing down or crashing frequently, it might be a sign of malware infection.


Backup Your Data: Regularly back up your important files to an external location or cloud storage. In case of a ransomware attack, you'll have a clean copy of your data.

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 As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do the tactics of cybercriminals. The threat of malware is a significant concern. By staying informed, practicing vigilant online habits, and investing in robust cybersecurity measures, you can enjoy the benefits of the digital world without falling prey to malicious software.


Adding Guardian Protection to your plan is an effective and easy way to help protect all devices connected to your home network against cyber threats. This add-on to the Kosciusko Connect app is powered by ProtectIQ which won the Cyber Defense Magazine 2022 Global InfoSec Award for "Best in Anti-Phishing, Network Security, and Management." You can learn more about Guardian’s powerful, user-friendly security features by listening to the latest episode of out podcast, Connected Conversations. Click here to listen or find Connected Conversations on your favorite podcast platform.


You may be interested in these other blog articles:


How to Stay Safe Online


How to Talk to Your Kids About Digital Safety


Securing Your Social Media