Welcome to the malware module. Malware is malicious software, programs and code designed to cause damage to your computing devices. Malware is the most frequent form of cyber attack used against businesses and organizations, both large and small. Many organizations invest millions in defenses against malware but the last defense is you. A user who fails to protect against malware and an organization who fails to adequately train its staff could result in significant cost to remediate the damages and could add up to millions of dollars for larger companies. Whether you are at home or in the office, you will have important files, presentations, photos and other sensitive data on your computing device. The average person does not consider the frailty of their data until it is too late. The unfortunate reality is, without proper precautions and good backups, the data could be gone in an instant. With a few accidental clicks or mistakenly opening an attachment from a strange email, you could inadvertently install malicious software on your computer and all your files could be gone forever. There are many types of malware. Adware is pop-ups, misleading ads or installed software that floods your display with tons of advertising and are designed to track your browsing habits. Spyware is software that collects information about you such as you're surfing habits, browsing history and personal information. A virus is malicious code that replicates by copying itself to other programs or software. It is designed to cause damage, steal information, change data and other unwelcome activity. A worm is like a virus, but can be spread by simply exploiting a vulnerability on the target system or by tricking users into executing them and then spreading to other companies. A Trojan Horse is malware disguised as legitimate software that is spread through user interaction. Once activated, Trojans can enable attackers to spy on you, steal your data and gain backdoor access to your system. A bot allows an attacker to take control of an infected computer. Bots are usually part of a network of infected machines, botnet, which is typically comprised of victim machines across the world. Ransomware prevents or limits users from accessing their system by either locking the system's screen, the user's files or even deleting the user's data until a ransom is paid. Email and social media are two of the most utilized platforms for attackers. Through these platforms, attackers can reach many people by distributing malicious links and attachments. Attackers disguise malicious links through formatting, URL shorteners such as bit.ly or goo.gl, or by registering websites with similar names; paypal.com versus paypal.xsecure.com. In emails and on webpages, formatted links can typically be hovered over to reveal their true destination. Similarly, shortened URLs can be expanded through several tools like CheckShortURL.com to see the true destination. These malicious links direct users to fishing or scam sites to steal usernames and passwords or send you to a site with drive-by downloads downloaded by simply visiting the site that contain malware. Malicious attachments are much harder to identify because they can appear to be safe. Many documents.pdf.doc, etc, can include commands that run when opened or have malware embedded in the file. Malicious files or attachments work by taking advantage exploiting of weaknesses on your computer vulnerabilities to infect your computer. Vigilance is key when attempting to open email attachments as attackers will craft very convincing messages to trick their targets into opening these files. A best practice to avoiding malicious attachments is to always verify the source of the attachment. However, this can be tricky when it comes to emails. While it may be a good start to verify whom the sender is, you may come across a situation where this trusted person's email account was hacked. If your mother is emailing you an attachment out of nowhere, it is a good idea for you to call her and ask her if she meant to send you something. When downloading attachments, files from public websites, consider the reputation of the website, download directly from the source and make sure you run a security scan on the file before opening. Now that you have a better understanding of what malware is and how it happens, let's discuss some of the signs of malware infection. Unexpected crashes or error messages: When you are performing regular computing actions i.e working in a spreadsheet and your computer goes to a blank screen, freezes, etc. Slow or lagging system: When your machine runs significantly slower than its usual expected speeds. Excessive hard drive activity: When you can hear the whirring of your hard drive and see the activity light flashing quickly. Running out of hard drive space: When the hard drive space is suddenly near its maximum capacity without any changes by the end-user. High network activity: When you're typically speedy web connection has drastically reduced in speeds for browsing and when uploading, downloading files. Random pop-up windows: Pop-ups that appear when browsing the web offering free downloads or claiming that you have won something. Fake system alert messages and system error messages: Alerts that appear to be legitimate indicating some issue with your computer and claiming to clear it or asking you to call a support number. New widgets, AddOns, toolbars: The appearance of new items on your bookmarks or browser extensions that you did not add. Security software is not working or disabled. Antivirus, firewalls and other security features have been disabled with no way to re-enable them. Knowing how to defend against a variety of threats will keep you one step ahead of attackers. Let's go over some of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe. Install antivirus malware software and keep it up to date. Run regularly scheduled scans with your antivirus software. This will ensure any potential viruses or malware are found and quarantined. Enable click-to-play plugins. Click-to-play is a feature built into most browsers that automatically blocks plug-in activity and will require user interaction before anything happens. Remove unnecessary or infrequently used software and applications. Update your operating system, browsers, plugins and applications. Device and app updates seem to come out every other day. So people end up ignoring them or putting them off until later. These updates usually fix any bugs or vulnerabilities found in the previous version of the software or app. So it is crucial that you install updates as they are released. This is your best defense against malware and online threats. The last recommendation would be to practice safe browsing habits. Listed on screen are some tips for achieving this.; Do's and Don'ts. Use HTTPS. The S stands for secure, meaning that the website is employing SSL encryption. Use strong passwords for all your web accounts. Turn on your browser's pop-up blocker. Retype the URL if you are unsure if the site is real. Activate parental controls or content filters if needed. Immediately alert helpdesk to any odd behavior. Do not browse personal sites at work. Only visit sites you trust. Do not download software from the internet onto your organization's computer. Do not click on pop-ups. Do not give or post personal information on the web. Do not post or say anything that you would not say to your grandma, boss or children. Let's have a quick review of what we learned in this presentation. Malware comes in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as multiple sources, and each one has its own way of causing damage to your computer and data. As such, it's imperative to ensure your system is protected and up-to-date. Utilizing antivirus software, avoiding suspicious links, websites and attachments, and partaking in safe browsing habits will keep you safe. You have concluded this module.