Attacks from malicious code have become a common problem with computer users. The malicious code does not necessarily have to come from unusual file formats and web page scripts only. Cyber criminals could corrupt other common file types you would consider safe, so it is best to be extremely careful when accepting and opening files from other people.
Problems Malicious Files can Cause
There are several kinds of malicious codes, including worms, Trojan horses, and viruses. The damage caused by these vary and a malicious code could be designed to one or more than one thing such as:
- Installing, changing and deleting files on your computer
- Interfering with your computer’s performance by consuming bandwidth or memory and causing your computer to become slow and even freeze
- Allowing the attacker access to the files on your computer
- Using your computer to attack and infect other computers
- How to Protect Yourself?
- Use a reliable antivirus program that can recognize and protect your computer from viruses. You will need to keep you antivirus updated with the latest definitions.
- Email attachments could contain a virus. If you are not expecting any attachments, you might not want to open it straight away. Instead, you can scan and open it only if it is free from viruses.
- As much as possible avoid downloading files from unknown websites. If you have to download files from a particular website, check for a website certificate. You might want to download the file to your computer and scan it for viruses before you open it.
- Ensure that your computer’s software is up-to-date, and install any software security patches that are required. If the automatic updates option is not available, you should regularly check for updates manually.
Omar Todd is considered as a cyber-security specialist and serves on the council at the ICTTF (International Cyber Threat Task Force)
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