How to Recognize Malware and Spyware?

How to Recognize Malware and Spyware?

The internet today is an integral part of our lives, which means that pretty much everyone faces the threat of malware infections. Over time, malware has grown increasingly, and today it is considered the biggest threat to the security of our digital devices. With that said, learning to recognize malware and protect yourself from the most common types of malware has become a crucial component of our internet safety.

In today’s day and age, the internet represents a big part of working life for most people, but it also brings risks and dangers with it. Spyware is one such danger. There are multiple types of spyware, and it is good to be familiar with what you may be facing. Three main types of spyware are:

  1. Adware
  2. Keyloggers
  3. Browser hijack

Spyware, along the side many other types of malware, can have devastating effects on one’s business as well as personal life. When talking about spyware specifically, it can track any digital movements and then redirect URLs to malicious websites. Needless to say, worrying about pretty much any type of malware is well-justified.

If you haven’t been a victim of malware so far, it means that you still have a chance to protect yourself and never fall into the claws of your enemies- cybercriminals.

Things like backing up your computer, installing antivirus software, avoiding questionable websites, and using a VPN from reputable VPN providers can go a long way in protecting your data from intruders.

At last, keeping your eyes and ears wide open and educating yourself on how to both prevent and recognize malware on your device is something that can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

How to Recognize Malware and Spyware? | Le VPN

#1 Slow System

If you notice that your device, out of the blue, starts performing sluggishly or is slow to react to requests, that’s immediately something to investigate further. However, does a slow system automatically mean you’ve been a victim of cybercrime? Well, not exactly.

Generally, background processes are busy with other tasks. With that being said, if you are running an abundance of programs, slow performance is expected. Also, while your VPN won’t slow down the internet, apps can.

But, if that’s not the case, there’s a high chance your device was infected and is now silently following commands of a malicious program. So, what can you do about it?

Well, the first thing you should do if you have doubts about your device being infected is to scan it with antivirus software. Some antiviruses can both detect threats as well as remove them from your device.

Secondly, you should create a backup of your files and folders. Most intruders aim to steal your data, so if you think you are being the victim of such an attack, there’s a good chance that those files and folders may be lost during the recovery process. So, make sure to make backups using backup software.

Finally, if you are connected via public Wi-Fi, make sure to disconnect as soon as possible to prevent data from being transmitted to the criminal. And, in case the attack takes place on your device, contact your Internet Service Provider.

#2 Your tasks Are Spontaneously Interrupted by Ads and Pop-Ups

Unexpected pop-ups and ads which appear on your screen are a typical sign of a malware infection, better known as spyware. As you already know, spyware is designed to collect and steal a persons’ sensitive data without their knowledge.

The scary thing about this malware is that it can be disguised as a legitimate program whose goal is to track your web browsing data and collect passwords and other personal information. So, we highly recommend you never click on a suspicious pop-up or add and install an ad-blocker and antivirus software.

Additionally, free applications can be another way of luring you into a trap. When you are downloading a program from the internet, it’s very easy to skim over or even skip reading the terms and conditions page, which is where they get you.

In the process of clicking “Next”  to get to the finish line, you might have agreed to accept a new default browser or maybe even open unwanted websites that are filled with viruses. So, the next time you download something for free, be extra cautious. Ideally, it would be best to avoid any of these practices altogether.

#3  Your Contacts Are Receiving Strange Messages from Your Accounts

If your family and friends ever told you that strange messages are coming from one of your accounts, this is a big red flag that indicates that you are a victim of some type of malware. You should first check whether those messages were actually sent from your account by digging through your “sent” messages.

If you notice those messages on your device, immediately log out from all of your devices, including phones, laptops, and computers.

The next step is to change your password. Choose a really strong password that contains lower and uppercase letters, as well as symbols and numbers. The final thing you should do is set up two-step authentication as a layer of extra security.

If you are in public connected to public Wi-Fi and are doing all of these things, make sure to use a  VPN. With premium VPN providers like Le VPN, the chances of someone lurking in the shadows of your device are nearly impossible.

Remember, you can never be too cautious when protecting yourself from malware attacks.

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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

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