Myth #3: Infected Computers displayed aggressive, nasty messages and make your computer run slow.
Truth: Hackers have been brought up with manners too! It’s not always the ones who display skulls and crosses on your screen that you should be worried about!
As the old saying goes - it’s the quiet ones that you have to watch. The most lethal type of hacker is not the one that we often see in Bond movies. There are no skulls on the screen alerting you to the fact an attack has taken place. You’ll find that hackers stealthily work behind the scenes undetected, undisturbed and taking as much time and information as they need. They can stay for as long as they want and for as long as they can, if they remain undetected. All the while, they can take control of your computer and potentially cause irreparable damage to your system.
So, what do they want?
One thing that many cybercriminals look for is personal data. This is any information that they can take and turn into a profit. An example of this would be your name, address, bank account details or your card numbers. These details would be easy to sell on the internet especially for anyone looking for data to use for identity theft scams.
Is it an individual or team?
Both! But not in the way that you think. Attacks today are almost always automated, unless you work for a large company or government agency. These automated attacks will use software to complete the majority of the work. This software may be installed on your system in the form of malware that may record your keystrokes in an attempt to steal your personal data. This modern malware is often installed on the user’s computer and the user may not even notice a performance change.
How did it get there?
Malware can infect your desktop or laptop in a number of ways. One way you can check this is if you have clicked on a link within a phishing email, downloaded something that you really shouldn’t have or have visited fraudulent websites that have clickable content. Another possible option may be that you already have malware downloaded onto your computer and it is now installing even more malware.
Will I ever see a nasty message displayed onscreen?
Yes, ransomware attacks will usually a display message that informs the user what actions the hacker wants them to take. This may include details of the ransom demand, time allocated and consequences for not following demands.
Will they ever make my computer run slow?
If a computer has been infected by a malware virus, one of the symptoms may be that it runs slower than usual. The reason for this is that the malware could be running more than one program behind the scenes, thus slowing down your other programmes.
If my computer is not infected what else could be wrong?
Although malware does have the tendency to slow down your operating system, internet speed and application speed there may be other reasons why your computer is running slowly. Resource heavy programs and applications can often slow down a computer. Furthermore, a lack of RAM memory, lack of space on your hard drive or hardware issues can also cause your computer to run slowly. It is important to be aware of these issues but you should also continue to look for other signs that your computer may be infected.
By exercising common sense and following security best practices, you can protect yourself against ransomware, malware and identity theft. The best defence against cybercrime is building your knowledge and understanding through increased awareness. MetaCompliance can help raise awareness of security best practices through the use of our Cyber Security & eLearning Library which offers 10-minute eLearning courses, covering everything from secure passwords to safe remote working.
Interested in learning more about protecting yourself and your organisation?
If so, contact MetaCompliance and learn how our eLearning catalogue can get your organisation started with protecting itself against malware and ransomware threats.