How To Prevent Malware In The Digital Age

How To Prevent Malware In The Digital Age

Malware, short for “malicious software,” is a broad term used to describe any program that runs secretly on a computer and carries out harmful tasks without the user being aware.

Types of Malware and how they work

Spyware: the enemy within

Spyware is software that stays on a computer and transmits data to its creator. In its most harmful form, this data could contain passwords and login details for important programs like internet banking, browsing patterns, and system information.


Programs that show pop-up ads fall under this category. The topic of the advertisements is frequently determined by browsing behaviour, but it may also be connected to a particular advertiser.


A computer virus is a program made to disperse itself among data on a single computer or a network of computers, typically the Internet.

Worm infestation

A worm propagates within a network by creating duplicates of itself, much like a real worm that reproduces at an exponential pace. It might be able to alter their profile to prevent being discovered.

Trojan attack

Just like the fabled horse of Greek mythology, the computer version mimics something benign, such an update or add-on to a legitimate software. Once inside your computer, it might carry out harmful activities like wiping your hard drive clean or deleting all of your image files. A Trojan may collect information and communicate it to the creator similarly to spyware.

Not Just a Cookie

Despite not being malware in itself, cookies can be utilized in similar ways. Cookies are a type of tiny data file that websites use to store data on your computer. For instance, a shopping site could want to track the things you’ve seen but not bought or keep track of your recent purchases until you reach the checkout. However, a less trustworthy website can choose to search through your cookies for personal information, such as recently visited websites.

Why protect yourself against Malware?

Malware can cause severe damage that could cost you huge sums of money in the worst-case scenario. At its least damaging state, malware can:

  • Gather data on your Web surfing habits and serve up ads for specific products or services. 
  • It can also turn your computer into a zombie system, sending spam e-mail messages to your contacts and far beyond. 
  • Your system can also be used to store data, such as e-mail lists, personal information or illegal images. 
  • Some malware programs are made to record each keystroke and mouse click, giving hackers the ability to track you around the Web in real-time while you log in to your bank account or other crucial websites.

How to avoid Malware

When it comes to malware, the best defence is a great offence. Taking action to avoid getting malware on your computer in the first place helps prevent you from becoming a victim. That is, of course, easier said than done. 

However, there are some actions you should take to guard against the malware threat:

  • Keep your Windows up-to-date by setting up automatic updates in the control panel. Microsoft issues critical updates at least monthly. Many of those are designed to eliminate or avoid specific malware threats.
  • Install an anti-virus software package and keep it updated at all times. There are many of these available, some of which are free. The most popular brands include Norton, Microsoft Defender, and McAfee. Your Internet service provider may also offer a utility or guide you to a recommended solution.
  • Don’t download shareware (or anything else for that matter) from unknown sources. Seek out reliable providers of free utilities, such as
  • When you do download software, read the end user license agreement before committing to the installation. When in doubt, do not install the software.
  • Don’t click on any pop-up or advertisement for free anti-malware software. These are almost always fake, even if they carry the name and logo of a well-known publisher. Ironically, this is a very popular method used to distribute malware and other malware. If you’re looking for anti-virus software, go directly to the company’s Web site and be sure you’re where you think you are.
  • Set your browser and operating system security level to at least the medium setting (or higher) for best results. You may see a few more warning messages, but it’s a small price to pay for security.
  • Install a firewall and, if you have a home network, use a separate router, rather than sharing the Internet connection through one of your computers. This puts one more barrier between you and the bad guys.
  • Avoid questionable Web sites. If you visit a site that seems strange, there’s a good chance you shouldn’t be there.
  • Do not click on a virus alert that pops up on your screen while browsing a website, not even to dismiss it. Instead, start the Task Manager by pressing Control-Alt-Delete, and then use the “End Task” command to close the window. Next, perform a thorough system scan using your antivirus program.
  • Never open an e-mail attachment if you’re not sure of its source.

What to do when Malware attacks

When you discover that your computer has malware, cease using it right away and disconnect it from the Internet to prevent giving the hackers access to any information. Run a thorough scan using your antivirus program. For guidance on what to do next, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the computer manufacturer’s support desk. Additionally, your Internet service provider can be useful.

Anti-virus or anti-malware software that has been updated will assist in detecting harmful software. They frequently give you a notice and fix the issue for you. Again, this is only possible if you have a reliable protection package in place and consistently maintain your operating system.

In the worst-case scenario, you might need to reformat your hard disk, reinstall the applications and operating system, and copy your data back to the drive. This technique, while tedious and time-consuming, also helps to clean up the system by removing useless programs and data. This will almost certainly speed up the computer and free up more space on your hard drive. Before using this technique, make sure you have a current, complete backup of your data.

Legal Issues and the EULA

There is the end-user licensing agreement (EULA), which is shown during the installation process, that clearly describes the software’s hidden operations. This protects the developer from potential legal action since they can prove that you were aware (or ought to have been aware) that the program featured this feature when you installed it. However, because EULAs are lengthy, tedious, and written in complex legal terminology, the majority of people choose not to read them. You can now purchase software that will read EULAs for you and display a warning if keywords or phrases signal there is a malware danger. This is additional evidence that there is a software application for everything these days.

Computer risks appear to be increasing practically every day, but there are also more and more sophisticated defence systems at our disposal to keep computers safe. Today, the majority of users may safeguard themselves against malware by vigilantly applying and maintaining the operating system and reliable anti-virus software.