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Top 5 Malware Threats

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When I wake up, the first thing I do is reach over for my smartphone and check for emails I might have received over night. During breakfast, I catch up on current events via my tablet. Whenever I have downtime at work, I check my bank account online and make any necessary transactions. When I get home, I fire up my laptop and web surf for a few hours while streaming movies from my smart TV.

If you’re like me, you’re connected to the Internet all day. This is why it's imperative to protect your devices and data from malicious software (malware). Malware is a wide range of software applications developed with a malicious intent. Unlike legitimate software, malware is installed on your computer without your consent. Malware can be introduced to your computer in a form of a virus, worm, Trojan horse, logic bomb, rootkit, or spyware. Here are the latest malware threats you should be aware of:

FBI Virus

FBI Virus Alert Message
Tommy Armendariz

The FBI Virus (aka FBI Moneypack scam) is an aggressive malware that presents itself as an official FBI alert, claiming that your computer is blocked due to Copyright and Related Rights Law violation. The alert attempts to trick you into believing that you have illegally visited or distributed copyrighted content such as videos, music, and software.

This nasty virus locks down your system and you have no means of closing the pop-up alert. The goal is for scammers to trick you into paying $200 to unlock your PC. Rather than paying the $200 and further supporting these cyber criminals, you can follow these step-by-step instructions for removing the FBI virus from your machine.

Firefox Redirect Virus

SearchForMore - Unwanted Page
Tommy Armendariz

If you’re a Firefox user, beware of the Firefox Redirect Virus. This vicious malware redirects your Firefox browser to unwanted sites. It also reconfigures your browser settings to manipulate search engine results and load malicious websites. Firefox Redirect Virus will attempt to infect your system with additional malware.

Suspicious.Emit

Backdoor Trojan Virus
Photo © Jean Backus

A Trojan horse is an executable file that hides its identity by pretending to be something useful, such as a utility tool, but it’s actually a malicious application. Suspicious.Emit is a severe backdoor Trojan horse that allows a remote attacker to gain unauthorized access to your infected computer. The malware uses code injection techniques to thwart detection and places an autorun.inf file in the root directory of the infected device. An autorun.inf contains execution instructions for operating systems. These files are found mainly in removable devices, such as USB flash drives. Protect your data by following these steps.

Sirefef

Pirated Software
Photo © Minnaar Pieters

Sirefef (aka ZeroAccess) uses stealth to hide its presence and disables your system’s security features. You may be infected with this virus when downloading pirated software and other programs that promote software-piracy, such as keygens and cracks that are used to bypass software licensing. Sirefef sends sensitive information to remote hosts and attempts to stop Windows Defender and Windows Firewall in order to ensure its own traffic won’t be stopped.

Loyphish

Phishing Scam
Photo © Jaime A. Heidel

Loyphish is a phishing page, which is a malicious webpage used to steal your login credentials. It disguises itself as a legitimate banking webpage and attempts to trick you into completing an online form. While you may think you are submitting your sensitive data to your respective bank, you have actually submitted your information to a remote attacker. The attacker will use images, logos, and verbiage to persuade you into thinking you are visiting the bank’s authorized website.

Understanding the major types of malware can help you make informed decisions about acquiring tools to protect your computer. To prevent infection from any of these threats, be sure to use up-to-date antivirus software and ensure your firewall is enabled on your computer. Be sure to install the latest updates for all of your installed software and always keep your operating system current. Finally, be cautious when visiting unknown websites and opening email attachments.

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