Your Guide to Computer Malware

Submitted by Tech Support on Mon, 11/21/2022 - 12:17
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"Malware" is a scary word--and for good reason. It can cause all kinds of issues for your devices, networks, and company at large. That's why you need to know how to identify malware and what to do about it. Here's your guide to computer protection in today's risky world!

What is Malware?

Malware is the commonly-used nickname for "malicious software." It refers to a large number of software types, including:

  • Trojan horses
  • Viruses
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware

Depending on what kind of malware you're dealing with and who put it there, the goal might be different. Some hackers might just want to interrupt your business processes, while others are looking for money and still others hope to make a statement or prove their skills. That means malware can do all kinds of things:

  • Take full or partial control over your device.
  • Disable your device.
  • Steal, corrupt, or destroy your data.
  • Monitor your device usage and activity.
  • Lock you out of your network or device.

Long story short, the simple answer to "What is malware?" is two words: bad news.

Identifying a Malware Issue

It's easy to say that you'd be able to identify a malware issue when you're reading about it on the internet. However, malware--and its designers--can be tricky. For example, the goal of spyware is to be just like a spy, watching you completely without your knowledge. That means you need to get smart about all the symptoms of an attack or invasion.

Here are a few things to look out for:

Ads, ads, everywhere

One of the most familiar symptoms of malware is a sudden onslaught of ads. If these pop-ups crowd your screen both online and off, you know something's wrong (specifically, the accidental installation of malware called adware)--so definitely don't click on them.

Inexplicably slow performance

Let's say you just got a brand-new device and are thoroughly enjoying your investment. There's no reason for this fresh-out-of-the-box machine to suddenly slow down--except for malware, of course. Many kinds of malware interrupt key processes and lead to reduced performance, often without any outward sign of an issue.

On the other hand, an older machine might already run slowly, so this isn't the most reliable sign of malware.

Changes you didn't make

If you're wondering when you installed that plugin or who changed your browser homepage, the answer is probably "malware." These changes can be difficult to notice at first, especially if they're small--which is why it's important to pay attention to your digital environment and settings so you can spot an issue.

Endangered data

Are you having trouble accessing data that was just fine yesterday? Have you been locked out of your files? Is your data just not there? In any of these cases, malware might be the culprit. Remember that hackers often want to interrupt your processes and get their hands on sensitive information, which explains why your files and folders would be a common target.

Choosing Computer Protection Solutions

It's clear that malware is no fun--not for your IT team, not for your employees, and not even for your customers. In fact, the only people having a good time are the hackers.

If you want to change that, your best bet is to choose a computer protection approach such as Digital Watchdog. This solution covers your business like a shield, helping protect computers, networks, and more. You'll enjoy remote monitoring and antivirus protection--and, if you're looking for help with an existing problem, Digital Watchdog can get rid of malware, too.

The best part of Digital Watchdog is the peace of mind. These days, malware could be lurking anywhere--and even the best-trained employees might fall for a well-disguised trick or trap. That's why it's smart to have plans and defenses in place long before an issue occurs.

In conclusion, malware is bad news--but with the right computer protection solution, you can rest easy.

Are you worried about malware? Want computer protection that delivers real results? Contact us today to learn more about Digital Watchdog!

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