Did you know your computer can be infected with malware just by visiting a website?
Most websites have a contact form or a way where people can message you, a lot of the messages will be spam that you simply ignore, whereas other times you may visit the website listed in the message.
No matter how tight your website’s security is – there is always a risk you might view a website link that’s been sent to you which may be infected with malware.
What is malware and why is it bad?
Malware (malicious software) is term used for software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system. When someone has access to your computer they can take complete control, such as listen through your microphone, open your webcam and allocate your computer’s power to mine units.
How do you know if you are infected?
Your anti-virus software is not a guarantee to your safety, malware can often be undetected or minor enough that you don’t know it’s there. These are some of the common affects:
- Computer is sluggish
- See strange pop-Ups
- Computer crashes a lot
- Suspicious hard drive activity
- Running out of hard drive space
- Unusually high network activity
- New browser homepage, new toolbars and/or unwanted websites accessed without your input
- Unusual messages or programs that start automatically
- Your security solution is disabled
- Your friends tell you that they are getting strange messages from you
- New, unfamiliar icons on desktop + battery life drains quickly
- You see unusual error messages
- You are unable to access the Control Panel, Task Manager, Registry Editor or Command Prompt
If any of these points sound familiar, you can read more about it at Heimdal Security.
How can I avoid getting infected?
Google is pretty quick to blacklist sites from their index that are infected, meaning that the sites you are searching for have a low chance to infect (it is one of the ranking factors). You can also submit unsafe sites for Google to check.
Other unsafe websites might be emailed to you, it’s always worth running a scan on the website before you visit – this can be done with Sucuri’s instant free site check.
There are also instances where you might be targeted, the attacker can buy a domain name similar to your website or a website you trust but has minor differences. They can then create an email signature and write an email that seems legitimate, address you personally or mention personal details they have found online and lure you into visiting a link. This is a common method used when phishing.
Bottom line is, if you aren’t sure just scan it.
Why do people do this?
Because there are a lot of bad people. They may be using your computer to mine bitcoins and make money or trying to access your bank account.
Think twice when clicking a web link because once you are infected – removing malware can be very difficult and sometimes require reinstalling your operating system.