What are the most common sources of malware?
Malware changes and adapts as technology evolves, and hence the most common sources of malware can vary over time as new threats emerge. However, here are some of the common sources of malware infections that you need to avoid:
- Infected websites: Cyber criminals may compromise legitimate websites by injecting malicious code or exploiting vulnerabilities. Visiting such websites or downloading files from them can result in malware infections.
- Phishing emails: Phishing emails are designed to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or to click on malicious links. These emails often appear to come from legitimate sources, such as banks, fellow employees, or reputable organisations, but contain malicious attachments or links leading to malware-infected websites.
- Malicious downloads: Downloading files or software from untrusted or unofficial sources, such as suspicious websites, can lead to malware infections. Hackers often disguise malware as popular or desirable content to lure unsuspecting users.
- Removable media: USB drives, external hard drives, and other removable media can carry malware if they have been infected on another system. Plugging such devices into a computer without proper scanning can result in malware spreading to the host system.
- Malvertising: Malicious advertising, or malvertising, involves the insertion of malware-laden advertisements on legitimate websites. Clicking on these ads can redirect users to malicious websites or trigger downloads of malware.
- Software vulnerabilities: Outdated or unpatched software can have vulnerabilities that malware can exploit. Attackers actively search for and exploit security weaknesses in popular software, including operating systems, web browsers, and plugins. Once a vulnerability is exploited, malware can be installed on the compromised system.
- Social engineering: Malware authors often use social engineering techniques to trick users into performing actions that lead to malware infections. This can include tactics such as fake software updates, deceptive pop-up windows, fake antivirus warnings, or enticing offers that require the user to download and run malicious files.
Please remember that these sources of malware are not exhaustive, and new methods and attack vectors constantly emerge as cybercriminals adapt their techniques. Practicing safe browsing habits, using up-to-date, paid for anti virus and security software, and exercising caution at all times can help reduce your risk of malware infections.