Attention! Poisoned food: virus, malware, ransomware…

Our food can contain poison (pesticides) that are imperceptible to the naked eye, also our surfing and communicating on the internet can bring us risks that at first sight are also invisible! Just as in real life, the Internet is not free from malicious people and scammers. We need to be aware and present in our online actions, so that we do not become victims.

And knowledge is the key! But what is virus? And how do they attack?

A Virus or Malware is a “malicious software” used to cause harm to computer or cell phone users. It is able to act in a very broad way, which includes:

• disrupt the operation of your computer;
• compile sensitive information;
• impersonate a user to send spam or fake messages;
• gain access to private computer systems.

The attack can be carried out or targeted at thousands of people to obtain data such as banking information, login credentials for email and social media accounts, or to spy on private information. Some attackers may even have access to the microphone and webcam, record keystrokes, copy files, and steal passwords.

Attacks can take advantage of known security vulnerabilities, or they may use what we call social engineering, where the attacker uses their skills to persuade the user to download, install, or provide access to their data, services, or devices. We also cannot ignore a significant portion of attacks coming from known people. It is not uncommon to see partners, ex-spouses, and enemies who try to criminally obtain private information from their victims.

The best way to deal with these attacks is to avoid being infected. Follow the recommendations below:

•  Be careful not to click on unknown links or download files that you are not expecting, as a virus can come disguised as a website link, PDF, or even an image/photo! Even if they come from email or WhatsApp contacts that you consider to be friends and close.

If you are not expecting someone to send you a link, confirm with the person the reliability of the link before clicking on it, as they may also have fallen victim to a scam or attack. When in doubt, use the saying: “Curiosity killed the cat.”

• Be cautious about the websites you visit, and
do not click on suspicious links.

Never install anything on your computer without being sure that the file is trustworthy. Only download programs from the developers’ own websites or from “official stores” like F-Droid, Play Store, and App Store. Many websites that offer a bunch of free programs to be installed actually provide adulterated files to infect your computer.

• Mantén tu sistema operativo (Linux, macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, etc.) siempre actualizado.

• Have and keep your antivirus software up to date.