What is Malware?
- Malware is malicious software used to infect or access your computer, including viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware and more.
- Fraudsters often pretend to be well-known organisations and ask you to click a malicious link or open an attachment. Your computer may be infected by following a link, downloading online attachments or opening an attachment in a phishing email.
- Once activated malware can redirect you to bogus screens, and display prompts and warning messages designed to persuade you to enter security information.
- Ransomware can take control and encrypt your files and demand a ransom to release them and restore your data.
- Once infected your computer is likely to run slowly as the malicious software works to intercept the data, particularly when you’re logging in to your online accounts.
What to look out for
- Remember that malware is often disguised by fraudsters that entice you to open. Examples could be an unexpected parcel or gift, such as a store voucher or competition prize.
- Don’t forget that malware is hidden in files or links which compel or scare you into acting, such as an unsuccessful parcel delivery, health warning or fine linked to a tax or traffic violation. If you are unsure, contact the organisation independently, as they may have helpful security advice on their website warning it’s a scam.
- Be careful of unusual emails from colleagues or messages from friends via social media, as these requests may ask you to visit a link or open a malicious attachment. Check with the individual directly as they may have had their email or social account hacked.
- Be wary of the websites you visit, especially when downloading content that appears attractive or useful. It may be downloading potential malware to your device. Check it’s genuine and from an official source.
- Keep your browser updated to the latest version, and run all required patches, to ensure your browser security protection is as strong as it can be.
Actions you can take now
- Share this page with employees and colleagues so they know what to look out for. Build a culture of security awareness, using of our webinars and resources, and the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre.
- If someone does click on a malicious link or open an attachment, encourage them to speak out as soon as possible; the quicker it’s identified, the sooner you can act.
- Forward any suspicious emails referring to UBN to email@example.com. Most big companies will have their own inbox for reporting phishing emails.
Always think twice and make double checking second nature
Take Five to stop fraud
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.