What’s fraudulent malware and why is it different from malware in general?

Fraudulent malware is a broad class of malware aimed at financial fraud. Most of the malware in this class is called Trojans, or Trojan horses. These mask themselves as legitimate applications, while their actions are more than unwanted.

The spyware could intercept everything you enter on your keyboard to steal passwords to websites you visit. Another type of spyware makes screenshots or even photos of users with a built-in notebook camera. All this data is then sent to a server so that cybercriminals could get hold of it. The backdoors, another type of malware, are a way for a criminal to access your system and all sensitive data you might have on your computer, as well as to perform certain actions in the global network using your accounts. The ransomware blocks your computer, demanding a fee to unlock it. All types of fraudulent malware aim for your wallet and sensitive data, which makes them extremely dangerous. Below is a list of some simple measures that could help in protecting yourself and your data.

  1. Always have security software installed and keep it up to date: make sure that automated updates are turned on or check for updates daily. The range of security software today is very broad, and, while some free antivirus applications offer fairly high level of security, while, in general, subscription-based security software is much more effective.

  2. Never delay software updates. Some security software offers a very convenient option of automated software update control which is very useful in keeping your applications up-to-date.

  3. If a security software is blocking an application you consider to be legitimate, do not attempt to solve the problem by yourself, with your friends’ advice or by following tips found on the Internet. The best idea is to refer to your security software vendor for a professional and reliable answer.

  4. Never open applications (.exe files on Windows) if you are unsure about them. However, bear in mind that .docx or .xlsx – Office documents – could be a source of threats too, and documents should only be opened if you know the recipient and are aware of the document contents. Be especially careful with e-mails (see the corresponding tip on e-mail).

  5. Back up valuable information on external drives. Even in case of a hacker attack, you will still be able to recover your data.

  6. Create several accounts on your computer with different access levels. For everyday browsing, an account with “user” rights is enough. An administrator-level account should only be used for installing and deleting applications, as well as for changing system preferences. This measure could keep damage to a minimum in case of an attack. Upon entering the system, an intrusive code gains the same permissions level that your account has. Using an “user” permission level guarantees that critical system data would be intact even in case of an attack, and that the hacker won’t be able to change system preferences without your knowledge.

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