Malicious software, known as malware, can be extremely intrusive, affecting multiple aspects of your computer’s functionality and potentially exposing you to harm.
You could accidentally expose yourself to malware if you visit unfamiliar or suspicious websites. When this happens, your device becomes infected and can be controlled by hackers to harvest important information or cause damage.
Where did it come from?
Malicious software, also known as malware, is frequently developed by nation-states to monitor or attack opponents secretly. Some of the more notorious examples of malware include:
- Malware made by the NSA to monitor your browsing history
- The adware that turns your device into a cash cow for its developers
- Malware that infects your device with a cryptocurrency miner
- Ransomware that locks you out of your device unless you pay a ransom
Due to the highly secretive nature of much of the information related to cyber-security, it’s often difficult to determine where exactly a specific piece of malware came from. However, several telltale signs can help you determine the origin of malware with a high degree of accuracy, allowing you to take appropriate precautions.
Secure Computing is DEAD
In the past, keeping your computer safe from malware was relatively easy. If you wanted to visit a questionable website, you would simply have to avoid getting infected in the first place. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Today, the lines between “good” and “bad” software have blurred, resulting in a complex maze of potential threats lurking behind every corner.
To make matters worse, many pieces of malware are highly sophisticated, constantly evolving to defeat anti-malware solutions and avoid detection. Because of this, the computing security industry has shifted to focusing on the endpoint, or device, rather than the network, or internet connection, itself. This way, they can ensure that every device is protected against threats, even those that attack at the hardware level.
To that end, Secure Computing, the company behind much of the anti-malware software currently available, has shifted its business model from protecting your PC to protecting you. Nowadays, their solutions can be found in the form of endpoint security software, such as their flagship product, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, which they claim is the world’s #1 anti-malware product. In addition to Kaspersky, they offer software solutions for Apple, Android, and Windows devices and cloud-based protection for all major platforms.
How is it transmitted?
Visiting a dubious website isn’t enough to infect your device with malware. You have to actively choose to bring it home with you, either by clicking a link or downloading a tainted app. Even then, it can take several minutes for a virus to penetrate your device and take control of it. During this time, you’re vulnerable to attacks from hackers who can gain complete access to your device.
The reality is that malware can be transmitted in a variety of ways, including:
- Contact with an infected surface
- Through emails containing viruses, worms, or Trojan horses
- Through USB drives that are infected with malware
- By attaching maliciously infected email documents to shipments
- Posting messages on social media that contain malware
Even though these items may not seem like common ways to infect your device, they’re all prevalent and can, at the very least, help you to understand the scale of the threat. Knowing how, when, and why your device was infected will help you determine what precautions must be taken to ensure that it stays that way.
How can I protect myself?
If you want to stay safe online, you need to take several precautions. Unfortunately, not all of those precautions will be within your control. Some of the things that you can do, however, include:
- Regularly update your device’s operating system
- Install antivirus software on your device
- Avoid opening emails from unknown sources
- Backup your device regularly
- Don’t click on any links in suspicious emails
Antivirus software, such as Kaspersky or Symantec, scans files for viruses as they’re opened and, thus, protects your system against malware lurking within those files. Some experts even claim that using antivirus software improves your device’s speed. Regularly updating your device’s operating system and installing security updates can help keep it safe. Regularly backing up your device and deleting unnecessary files can make it less vulnerable to malware.
Last but not least, avoiding clicking on any links or downloading files from suspicious sources is important. This is especially important if you visit unfamiliar websites or those that you suspect may be infected with malware. In addition to being a common way to spread malware, some websites may even attempt to trick you into purchasing a counterfeit good or service or infecting your computer with malware.
Which Website Malware Checking Tools Are Recommended
Website malware-checking tools are a crucial part of any cybersecurity strategy. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have the time to review each site after it’s been created manually. This is why automated tools are necessary to keep up with the steady barrage of advertisements and malicious links that constantly pop up on the web. Thankfully, modern anti-virus software makes this a piece of cake! We’ve curated a list of the top website malware-checking tools available today to help you keep your website safe from malware and hackers. Let’s take a look.
If you’ve used even one anti-virus program in the past, you’ll probably be familiar with AVA. Created by Kaspersky Lab, this security suite is a reliable solution that’s already been around for a few decades. It’s a free solution that offers basic protection against viruses, worms, and other malicious software. Moreover, it has a wealth of additional features that could make your life much easier as a webmaster.
AVA features a streamlined interface that allows for fast scanning of websites and blogs. In addition, it sports an impressive list of extra functions that can help you manage your sites more efficiently. For example, the program allows you to create groups of sites based on certain criteria, like domain, IP address, or file types. This can be helpful if you’re managing many sites or just want to keep track of certain types of threats. A simple click of the “threat analysis” button will reveal all the relevant details in a clear and concise format.
Developed by Cloudflare, Norman is a free, open-source program that provides powerful security for websites and mobile apps. What sets it apart from other security tools is its breadth of features. It comes with formidable anti-virus and anti-malware protection and also packs a powerful web security scanner. The scanner scans URLs, headers, and files to identify security weaknesses on a site.
Norman leverages these security tools to form a powerful security platform for keeping your websites secure. The scanning engine is updated continuously to stay ahead of the curve, and you can also download the latest version of the software to update it yourself.
- Sucuri Free Website Scanner
Sucuri is one of the world’s most popular and reputable security companies, for a good reason too! They craft some of the most popular antivirus software in the world, and their products are also bundled with major security companies like Cisco and Mozilla. Even Google has incorporated the company’s technology into its various products.
Sucuri offers a premium product called the Sucuri Antivirus for Websites that comes with all the same features as their regular version, plus a few extra perks. For example, it checks for emerging threats like zero-day attacks and previously unknown malware. The software checks for security vulnerabilities in plugins and scripts that may be used on your site. In addition, it has a built-in firewall and password manager that help to keep your data safe, as well as the usual anti-virus and anti-malware features.
Mikwifi is a network security company founded in 2012 and is a division of the Echelon Corporation. The company is best known for creating a Wi-Fi analyzer, the Wi-Fi Detector, that can be rented or purchased. The device runs on a paid subscription basis. It is designed to be installed in your home or office to keep an eye on your Wi-Fi network’s security and to provide actionable insights should an incident occur.
TreatYourself is a free service from Cloudflare that allows you to protect your website from the get-go. The service, designed with simplicity, doesn’t require any technical knowledge.
All you need to do is head to the website’s security page and click the “Get Started” button. You’ll then be presented with a few quick tips on securing your site and additional suggestions on what could make your site more secure. For example, you may be advised against using the same password across multiple accounts or suggesting that you should install the NoScript Firefox extension to block script-injected content on your site.
TreatYourself is a free service from Cloudflare, so there’s no installation required. All you need to do is head to the website’s security page and click the “Get Started” button. You’ll then be presented with a few tips on securing your site and additional suggestions on what could make your site more secure. For example, you may be advised against using the same password across multiple accounts or suggesting that you should install the NoScript Firefox extension to block script-injected content on your site.
OWASP ZAP Free Website Proxy
OWASP ZAP is an open-source security testing tool created in 2007 and is now maintained by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). The tool, which stands for Open Web Application Testing Platform, is used to test the security of applications or services accessible via the web.
ZAP enables testers to find security vulnerabilities in websites and web applications by sending specially crafted requests to a server, which should respond successfully with instructions on what to check for. It has a built-in scanning engine, so you don’t have to worry about manually configuring it to scan a specific website or application.
ZAP is one of the most popular tools among digital security experts, probably because of its ease of use. You only require a computer connected to the internet and a copy of ZAP already installed on it. To start using it, open the application and click the “Scan Web Application” button. You’ll then be presented with a list of all the applications and services that can be accessed via the web. Once you’ve selected the one you want to test, click next, and a detailed report will be generated containing all of the security vulnerabilities found during the test.
Because ZAP is an open-source project, you’ll also find many additional tools that can help you test the security of your website. The documentation quality is also quite good, so you may also find that some of these tools are easy to use, even for beginners.
Wondered If Your Website Is At Risk?
With all the various threats that lurk out there, it’s not always easy to know where you stand about online safety. Wondered If Your Website Is At Risk? is a free service from Cloudflare that examines the security of your website and gives you an idea of the risks you may be facing. The service leverages the power of Cloudflare’s network to scan your site and its contents for weaknesses.
Moreover, they also scan known malware and vulnerable plugins that may be embedded in your site. The scan results are presented in a clean and easy-to-understand format highlighting the issues you may need to address.
The last item on our list is SiteLock Premium, a commercial product from Blue Coat that offers powerful security for websites and mobile apps in a single appliance. What sets it apart from other security products is its innovative security algorithms, which are built on advanced proprietary technology.
This is important because most cybersecurity products leverage Open Source technology, making them vulnerable to hacking.
To ensure that your computer is free of malware, you must educate yourself about cyber-criminals threats and be aware of things that might harm your computer. By learning about these issues, you may be able to protect yourself and your data and website from these malicious actors and viruses.