In the past few days, some mobile phone owners in India have been receiving an image with flowers, natural scenery, gods, and the “Good Morning” message. While this image seems to brighten up one’s day, the truth is, it’s being used by hackers to spread viruses and steal data.
Beware of These Good Morning Images!
Rakesh Singh Kunwar, a doctoral student at the Raksha Shakti University, alongside Professor Priyanka Sharma, carried out a study to analyze and evaluate the different types of malware that are being spread in India. They wanted to analyze the composition and repositories of different malware threats including the Good Morning malware, to understand how quickly they spread. The result of the study showed that the sneaky nature of most malware threats in India makes them more dangerous as compared to other malware.
With social media platforms becoming more popular for image sharing, it comes as no surprise that hackers are trying to take advantage of them. They created a file that can be executed after an image is downloaded. This file then executes shell codes in the background, which leaves most users completely oblivious to the fact that their computers or smartphones have already been compromised.
How to Protect Your Computer from Malware
So, what measures can you take to prevent malware from wreaking havoc on your system?
1. Install Anti-Malware Software.
This tip may seem very obvious, but many computers today still don’t have anti-malware software installed. If you are truly concerned about what malware can do to your computer, make sure you download and install reliable anti-malware software as soon as you can.
2. Keep Your Anti-Malware Software Updated.
Having anti-malware software is the first and most important step. Keeping it updated is the second. Updates are usually rolled out to fix bugs and errors in the previous versions, as well as improving existing features. By installing them, you can rest assured that your anti-malware can offer you decent protection.
3. Run Regular Scans.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but many users still forget to do this. As a responsible user, you should set up your anti-malware software to run regular scheduled scans. Weekly scans are ideal, but make sure you don’t run one when you are working on your daily tasks. Scans might cause your computer to run slow. It is best to run your anti-malware software at night when you are no longer using your computer.
4. Keep Your Operating System Up to Date.
OS developers always release security patches to fix security leaks and threats and keep your system secure. Regardless of whether your computer is running macOS or Windows, it is best to keep your operating system up to date to ensure it is protected against threats like the Good Morning malware.
5. Delete System Junk.
Over time, cache and unwanted files build up in your system. If you don’t get rid of them, they may slow down your computer and weaken your security. That said, it’s always a good idea to get rid of system junk. You have the option to do it manually or automate the entire process by installing a trusted PC repair tool.
6. Avoid Connecting to an Open WiFi Network.
When you are at the library or in a local coffee shop, try not to access the free or open WiFi network. Think about this. If you have effortlessly accessed the network, what more can an expert hacker do?
7. Think Before You Click.
Try not to visit websites that offer pirated content or material. Do not click or open an email attachment from an anonymous sender. Before you click on a link, always hover over it so you will have an idea where the link will take you. If you need to download a file from the internet or from a file-sharing service, scan it first before running it. A reliable anti-malware tool should perform a scan automatically, but it pays to make sure of it.
8. Use Strong Passwords.
While it’s tempting to use the same password for all your accounts, just don’t do it, especially in your bank accounts. If you really have to use the same login credentials for all your accounts, use a strong password. Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Keep your password easy to remember but difficult to guess. Avoid using birthdays or pet names.
9. Enable Your Computer’s Firewall.
There are two common types of firewalls: hardware and software. Between the two, the software firewall is the most popular. This type of firewall runs in the background, monitoring the internet traffic that enters and leaves your computer.
To access your computer’s firewall, follow these steps:
- Go to Control Panel.
- Navigate to the Windows Firewall section.
- If you are using Windows 7 or later Windows versions, select System and Security -> Firewall. For Windows Vista, select Security and click Windows Firewall.
- From here, activate the Windows Firewall.
10. Back Up Your Files.
Last but not least, always have a backup of your files. You never can tell when a malware attack will occur. With a backup handy, you can quickly restore all your important files and documents.
Ideally, you should have your backup in three places: on an external storage device, on the cloud, and on your computer. But if your computer is running macOS, you can consider using any of the best data backup methods intended for Macs.
Malware might be prevalent nowadays, but it does not mean you can’t do anything to avoid it. You can take a lot of preventive measures to protect your computer against malware. Run regular scans and make it a habit to install updates. If possible, do not click on suspicious links as well. Lastly, make sure you know about the latest threats and be able to identify them. When you take these measures, you can improve your security and ensure your computer runs as efficiently as it should.
Have you come across the Good Morning malware before? How did you get rid of it? What preventive measures did you take? Share your experience in the comments.