Quite often we get the question “How did malware infect my computer ?” and “how to prevent malware from infecting my computer again ?” Well, the answer is not always that simple. The most common way to prevent viruses is by antivirus software, but still computers get infected, how is that possible. The problem persists in the thin line between malware and they way it is spread on the internet. Not all virus scanners have protection against 0-day attacks or protect your computer from ad-support software known as adware.
How did malware infect my computer ?
Hacked websites with malicious source-code
The most common way nowadays to target a large audience and infect as many computers as possible is to spread malware through hacked websites or hacked advertisement networks. Cyber criminals use these techniques to target a large group of internet users and use these hacked websites to infect as many computer users as possible. Basically there are two kind of techniques to infect as many computers as they can.
Cyber criminals hack websites and place malicious code in the website’s source code. If your computer has out dated software installed there is a big change you might get infected. Out dated software often has bugs in their source code and cyber criminals use it to exploit and infect your computer remotely. Another known as commonly used technique to infect your computer is called Social Engineering.
When cyber criminals use Social Engineering, they actually try to convince you into installing or clicking some link to infect your computer. This techniques are used in, for example; phishing. Cyber criminals sent you a e-mail from your “bank” with a link or file, when you eventually click that link or file you will be redirected to a malicious website to trick you into revealing personal information, or your computer is infected with a virus to steal this information from your computer.
We as malware analysts see lots of fake updates for software as Flash Player, Windows Media Player or Java software. The malicious ads try to trick you into installing a new version for the Flash Player, Java Player or Media Player because it is out dated. When the so-called update is installed on your computer, your computer is infected with more adware and tries the same trick over again. Always update your software from the manufactures website and never download software from CNET, Softonic or Brothersoft, it’s always bundled with a form of malware.
Download sites, Usenet and P2P networks
It’s very popular at this moment to download all kinds of free software, cracks, key generators, patches for illegal pirated software. Cyber criminals know that and bundle their viruses or adware with this software. Cyber criminals often warn the user when they are trying to install a crack for a specific piece of software that their virus scanner might pick it up as a virus. Well now that might have guessed why…Be aware or better; stay away from pirated software, it causes lots of problems and are used in various botnets or bitcoin mining networks.