Scammers send all sorts of messages with attachments and those attachments can contain malware.
Everyone should know that’s it’s potentially dangerous to run a programme supplied by an unknown person or company without being able to verify it is safe, but the scammers attach all sorts of file types in their messages in the hope of coning you into opening them.
Numerous file types can be used by scammers to infect your devices, including-
Compressed files. Most commonly compressed into TAR or gzip format but any other compression can be equally dangerous as the scammer attempts to get around malware scanners.
Microsoft Office documents containing macros
Disk images in ISO or IMG formats
Web pages – asp, html, php etc.
Scripting languages e.g. shell
There are many more less commonly used file types that scammers also try to send out.
Make sure you have up to date anti-malware on your devices and if warned that a file may be unsafe to open – do not take risks.
If you have any experiences with phishing scams do let me know, by email.
“Malware” is any software that is created to cause destructive effects on a computer or system or steal information or cause loss of data against the users wishes.
This includes viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware amongst others.
Malware is created by hackers and is usually intended to deliberately cause damage or to make money in some way. But it is also used by subversive governments for attacking other countries infrastructure and accessing secrets. Sometimes businesses use malware to spy on others.
There is a wide variety of malware, including:-
Viruses: These attach themselves to clean files and infect other clean files. They can spread uncontrollably, making computers unstable and unusable and sometimes deleting or corrupting files.
Trojans: This kind of malware is usually hidden in what appears to be legitimate software. Typically it creates a back door entry to a system for the hacker who created it.
Spyware: Used to spy on the opposition – whether that’s another country, person or organisation. This malware usually hides and operates in the background, periodically sending back data to its owner.
Worms: This type of software is designed to infect entire networks of devices, either in one data centre local or across the internet, by using network interfaces. It uses each consecutively infected machine to infect others.
Ransomware: This kind of malware typically locks down your computer and your files,, then threatens to erase everything unless you pay a ransom (usually in Bitcoin).
How to protect against malware
Install anti-virus and anti-malware software or service on all of your computing devices and networks. E.g. AVAST, McAfee, Malwarebytes etc.
Don’t give out lots of personal information on web sites, social media etc, and do not trust people you have never met unless you have checked on them.
Always virus scam anything you download and avoid torrents and similar.
Get an ad-blocker! To stop unexpected adverts appearing that may contain malware or lead to a site containing malware.
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