A Word On Malicious Software

As of the time of writing this, there was a recent wave of Ransomware attacks, with WannaCry being credited -if you can call it that- with being the biggest attack in history. If you are not familiar with Ransomware, it is malicious software that encrypts the data on your computer, and is unencrypted if you pay a ransom to the attackers. It’s incredibly sophisticated software, and very much the work of talented programmers. Why they chose this line of work is anyone’s guess, but the sad truth that if hit by Ransomware, your only options are pretty much to pay, or wipe your computer clean and start over.

There is virtually no way to crack encryption, unless you are immortal, and are willing to wait around to get it done long after the earth has crashed into the sun. This is not a joke, that’s how much time it would take. The encryption used in Ransomware attacks is similar to the encryption used by online casinos. Which is to say; there are more so many keys to try that you would need millions of years in order to try them all. It is all but uncrackable. Good for online casinos, not so good for anyone who is on the receiving end of a hack attack.

The good news is, however, that Ransomware cannot spontaneously install itself on your computer. It has to be done manually. So; don’t install unknown programmes, that’s for damn sure, and don’t open email attachments from unknown senders.

Malware And Adware

The majority of malicious software is not so damaging as Ransomware, but still can be a right royal pain in the backside. Malware and Adware are software that does, most of the time, not damage your computer or operating system. There is a perception that malicious software aims to simply render your computer useless, but this very rarely the case. Malicious software is generally just a way to hijack a system and force it to operate in a certain way. As it turns out, there are very few people out there who aim to simply make life unpleasant for other people, for no reason at all.

A Malware programme, for example, may replace your browser; forcing you to surf via a browser you have no intention of using. In my case, I once had a Malware browser hijack my computer that worked in an Asian language I did not understand. Frustrating is not the word.

But why, you are probably, asking, would anyone want to do that?

But Why?

In the world of the internet pairs of eyes are a currency. Or, to be more specific, traffic is currency. If you have people visiting your website, you can sell advertising space, or convince others to invest in your website, since there are eyes that will see whatever a person trying to sell. If your browser is hijacked, it means that your eyes are now prime real estate, since you are forced to look at that browser every time you use the internet.

Other existing Malware known as Adware, hijacks a browser, and adds excessive advertising to every page you visit. There are a number of variations of this. But that’s silly, I hear you saying, since a person would actually have to click some of the ads and buy stuff for there to be any benefit. But, you’re overlooking that in the case of online shenanigans such as this, the idea is to blast as many people as possible with unwanted adverts. And even if only 1% actually buys something, 1% of 100,000 is still a good amount.

Spyware

Another form of Malware is Spyware, which can be a great deal more harmful. Spyware installs on the computer and records information, which is sent via your internet connection to a recipient. This can include things like your keystrokes, which may include the passwords to your bank account, for example. In other cases the Spyware programme will simply record your internet habits, which is information that can be sold. Strange but true.

Protection

In most cases such software needs you to install it in order for it to work. This is really good reason that you should be very careful about where you get your files. It’s no reason to be overly paranoid, but certainly a reason to avoid those dodgy websites. You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t give me that innocent look.

There are, of course, virus protection programmes. But in my experience they are often very resource draining and expensive pieces of software. Since I use my computer to play casino games and other games too, I like all the power I can get, so any software that makes my system sluggish, like virus protection programmes, is not okay with me.

I use the standard Windows Defender system, which is light on the resources, and am sure to keep it up to date. In addition I have software that works whenever I make a transaction, such as buying games online, or making a deposit at an online casino. It works well, and was free.

And yes, if you’re wondering, I also steer clear of those dodgy websites. I find I can get absolutely everything I need online from reputable online locations.

Marc Armstrong - Signature

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