There different types of malware programs out there and some of them can be very harmful to your computer system. Learn how to prevent malware infection.
What Is Malware And How to Prevent Malware Attacks
Although macOS has many built-in features that protect this system from malicious software, Macs can get infected. And one of the ways you can get malware is through downloading a harmless-looking app, for example, video editing software from a third-party website.
Oftentimes, people think that malware is synonymous with viruses and use these words interchangeably. But a virus is just one of the many sub-categories of malware. In this article, we discuss different types of malware and how to protect your Mac against them.
What Are the Most Common Types of Malware?
Malware is the short term for malicious software that can harm your Mac’s system or your privacy. It’s one of the biggest threats on the internet.
There are many different types of malware out there, and some of them are more harmful than others. Here are the most common ones.
Spyware gains access to a victim’s computer and secretly records their online activity. It may collect different types of data, for example, credentials, passwords, credit card details, bank account information, payment details, internet activity, and more. It is a common threat that is typically distributed in a form of freeware or shareware.
Such sneaky programs usually run quietly in the background, and you may never notice them. They collect data and monitor your activities to relay that information to advertisers and trigger malicious activities related to your device.
This malware is designed with the purpose to automatically deliver ads to users to generate revenue for its creator. Adware is not as dangerous as other types of malware, but it is very annoying. It will slow down your computer and make you are browsing the internet a frustrating experience as you will be bombarded with lots of banner ads and invasive pop-ups that you are not interested in. It can also redirect your browser searchers to potentially harmful websites with malicious links.
Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software but contain malicious instructions. Users download these programs because they look trustworthy. After it lands on a device, Trojan looks for sensitive information, for example, your bank account information, and sends it to someone who will use it to steal your money, compromise your account, or make fraudulent purchases. Such programs can also be used to gain control of a computer by installing a backdoor or taking other harmful actions.
Viruses are the most familiar type of malware. They are typically attached to executable files or word documents, and they got this name because they spread by making copies of themselves. Viruses insert their own code and replicate it from folder to folder. They can also spread to other devices. A virus can hijack your apps and use them to send out infected files to your friends, colleagues, and clients. Viruses can steal personal and financial information and lock the system down.
This type of malicious software is very similar to viruses because worms are self-replicating and can infect other systems without human interaction. Worms spread via phishing attacks or software vulnerabilities. They can infect a large number of computers in your network fast and do serious damage by modifying and deleting files, stealing your data, and installing backdoor programs.
Such malware encrypts system files or user data files with an encryption key that is known only to the attacker. It blocks access to user files until a ransom is paid (usually in cryptocurrencies). If a user doesn’t pay the ransom, the attacker may delete the data or publish it. Ransomware is most commonly delivered when you click on a link in an email or open a malicious attachment.
How to Prevent Malware Infection
So now that you know about different types of malware, the logical question is, “What should I do to keep my Mac malware-free?”
Malicious software can be installed on your computer when you download attachments from email, messages, or free tools from unknown websites. You can reduce the risk if you install apps and programs only from reliable, trusted sources – App Store and official developers’ websites.
You should be very cautious when browsing the internet and never open files from websites and email messages if you are not sure that they come from a legitimate source. And if you notice a certain program on your Mac that seems suspicious, you should delete it as soon as possible.
The best way to protect your Mac is by investing in a good malware cleaner that will scan your machine for different types of malicious programs that are specific to macOS. Then you will be able to perform regular malware checks and automatically remove suspicious software without any traces.
It’s also important to regularly update your Mac’s operating system, browsers, and plugins to the latest versions. Such updates typically include security patches to protect your computer from discovered security vulnerabilities. So you should turn on automatic software updates if it’s possible.