Cyber threats are increasing, as are the anxieties that come with them. In a recent F‑Secure survey of 4,000 people, 63% of all respondents said that they are worried about becoming a victim of cyber crime — with that number increasing to 82% for parents. However, by following some simple malware tips you can greatly reduce the associated risks and concerns.
Malware is a kind of software that gets installed on your device without your knowledge, and which then performs a malicious action, such as stealing data, extorting money, or monitoring your online activity. Sadly, though, protecting against malware threats is made more difficult by the sheer amount of time we’re connected nowadays, with F‑Secure data revealing that people aged between 18 and 34 now spend 11 hours‑per‑day online.
But by following the malware tips in this post — and by using a security application such as F‑Secure Total — you can protect you and your family from this ever-increasing collection of cyber threats.
Over the last two years, mobile security has been affected by the increase in malware on Android and iOS. As a result, F‑Secure strongly recommends that you avoid using unofficial builds of apps for mobile devices. And you should only install apps from official sources, like Google Play, Samsung Galaxy Store and Apple App Store.
The Internet is filled with cracked software, modded APKs (Android Package Kit), and application hacks, said Amit Tambe, a researcher at F‑Secure.
Often, these sorts of riskware are fake and may contain malicious trojans or malware that will infect your computer. Always download from trusted sources.
When it comes to applications, one of the best malware tips is to be on guard when it comes to reviews, and this also applies to details in official app stores. Before installing an application, you should check out user reviews and look for fake comments; an app with only 5‑star reviews and very poor reviews could possibly mean that the users have experienced some unusual or bad activities after installation.
Check an app’s reviews for fake comments and overly positive 5‑star evaluations, said Sarogini Muniyandi, Senior Manager in F‑Secure’s Threat Protection Engineering team.
Likewise, look out for very poor reviews, which could come from victims who have experienced unusual or malicious activities after installation.
Prevention is better than cure. And malware infections will usually try to avoid detection and keep victims in the dark. Therefore, it is always easier to prevent a cyber attack than to deal with one retrospectively, which can be achieved by avoiding prominent malware infection routes — such as clicking on unknown links, applications, and email attachments.
However, prevention isn’t always possible, so — as well as following our malware tips — it’s also important to ensure that you use a reputable security application, such as F‑Secure Total will detect malware before it gets the chance to infect your device, or remove it if it’s already present.
You should scan regularly for viruses and the best way to do this is by using an application such as F‑Secure Total, which includes real-time and automated scanning. If your antivirus software finds an infection, change your passwords immediately for accounts that may have been compromised, using a strong password generator. And try and keep track of your data.
A tool like F‑Secure’s ID Protection helps you check if your information has been breached, explained Yik Han, a researcher at F‑Secure.
Watch out for any unusual activity related to your data — such as increased spam, unusual calls, or misuse of your email to sign up for services.
Avoid unknown sources when possible and have your internet security enabled when downloading and installing files. Also, where children and gaming are concerned, one of the most important malware tips is to avoid cheat offers and cracked/pirated installers, as it’s extremely common for threat actors to deliver a trojan that’s hidden within them.
Information stealers (infostealers) often arrive as fake installers or cheats for gaming apps, said Patricia Dacuno, Senior Researcher at F‑Secure.
That’s why your family should only download software from trusted and official websites. Also, avoid opening attachments and clicking links from email messages coming from unknown senders.
Although it is incredibly convenient, one of F‑Secure’s key malware tips is to avoid saving information to your browser’s autofill settings, as the widespread usage of this functionality in web browsers has made it a common target for infostealers.
To protect your data from being stolen, avoid using the autofill feature of the browser as much as possible — especially for sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, billing information, or any personal identification, said Patricia Dacuno, Senior Researcher at F‑Secure.
F‑Secure Total’s award-winning technology protects against the latest malware threats. As well as advanced antivirus, Total also comes with parental controls and Browsing Protection, ensuring that your data remains safe at all times.
You can try it for free for 30 days, with no credit card required.