You may have heard the terms: virus, trojan, ransom and so on. The list is long. They are types of malware that are used for different purposes. If a computer or a mobile device is infected with malware, cybercriminals can access confidential and personal data stored in the system.
This open letter aims to raise public awareness of malware threats and offer protection solutions.
To put it simply, malware or malicious software is the same kind of software you have in your PC, notebook or smart phone and use every day (Word, Excel, Outlook, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and so on). How are they different from malware? – malware serves the sole purpose of giving its creator – a cybercriminal – full control over another person's device. If a malware is installed in a device, criminals may access personal files, online activity data, passwords and financial data or use the device to harm other people. A malware may restrict your access to your files – or, to put it in other words, hold your files "in hostage" and demand a "ransom". Some believe that malware only infects Windows, which is not true. Regrettably, other systems are also vulnerable to malware, including smart phones, surveillance cameras, Wi-Fi transmitters and even cars, not to mention Apple devices. The more devices are infected the more sources of income are generated. Therefore, a malware attack may be targeted at any user irrespective of his/her financial, social or confidentiality status.
According to popular belief, a powerful ‘antivirus' is enough to protect against malware. Regrettably, neither this is true. None of the currently available antivirus software programmes or even several of them can protect from all malware. On the one hand, malware is permanently evolving to adapt to technological challenges. Cybercriminals are looking out for new ways to bypass safety systems – and their efforts have so far been successful. On the other hand, antivirus software producers make remarkable efforts to upgrade their production and come up with better protection solutions. Fighting against malware producers resembles a chase in which "the bad guys are always trying to be a step ahead." As information security cannot always rely on antivirus software, additional preventive measures should be taken: