Malware includes Viruses, Spyware, Trojan horses, or any other software are designed to damage and infiltrate a computer system, obtain and steal personal information and commit fraud.
To minimize your exposure risk to malware:
- Do not download an attachment file unless you are absolutely certain what it is and who sent it.
- Do not click on any advertisement asking for personal or financial information.
- Make sure to update your security system software to protect your computer from threats.
Viruses are harmful programs transmitted in several ways. Most commonly, they give individuals access to infected machines. The main goal of a virus is not to necessarily cause damage, but to clone itself onto another host so that it can spread further. If the virus causes damage it is more vulnerable to be detected, for this reason virus originators set forth stealth techniques to keep it unnoticed. The best viruses have a small footprint and remain undetected for a long time.
Spyware is mostly used to “spy” on a user’s activity and sends the information to a hacker. Spyware does not infect your computer. Instead, it is usually released by Trojans (and also by viruses and worms). Once released, it installs itself on the victim’s computer and sits there silently to avoid detection.
Spyware logs all the keys that the user types. This type of spyware is called a keylogger and can collect interesting information like user names, passwords, credit card numbers and email addresses. Keyloggers capture every key stroke, so entire emails; documents all can be read by the malicious hacker.
The purpose of a Trojan is to conceal itself inside software that seems genuine. The Trojan can take many different disguises. A common trick is to conceal the Trojan inside a harmless game. Trojans also come disguised as videos, pictures and even legitimate software packages. In each case, the disguise is something designed to tempt the user into running it on their machine.
The same as any pc or laptop, malware can be installed on your Smartphone to steal information. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most common ways malware can access your device. Because a Smartphone can easily be connected to wireless networks, malware is easier to download. Only use secure and trusted Wi-Fi and only accept Bluetooth connections from people you know and make sure to disable Bluetooth when you aren't using it.
SMShing is mobile phone phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Website, a text message is sent to your cell phone promoting you to click on a link. The link causes a Trojan to be installed in your phone. The goal is to trick you into replying with financial or personal information, viruses can be snuck into your mobile device via these link. Never respond to an SMS text message that requests this crucial data.
Scammers fill up email inboxes across the world with unsolicited offers, also known as spam. The goal being to gather personal information to steal your money and/or your identity. Oftentimes, there are attachments and links that will lead you to fake sites or prompt you to unintentionally download harmful software.
- Never email your personal information
- If you don't know the source of an email, delete it
- When in doubt, don’t click
Always remember to keep your computer firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date.
Currently these are the most popular and perhaps most dangerous form of email fraud. They use email messages that appear to come from a legitimate company or institution, such as your credit union, and ask you to "update" or "verify" your personal information; the scammers then use this information to commit identity theft. We understand that our member’s identity is precious therefore; Alden Credit Union will never use email to request that you reply with your password, social security number, or any other confidential personal information.