Malware, or malicious software, is a computer program created to infect and harm your computer. And there are several different types of malware including viruses, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, adware - the list goes on and on.
What's even scarier is that there are just as many, if not more ways that hackers use malware to infect your computer and steal your information.
Now, you might think that cybercrime is mostly a corporate problem, or something that affects individuals. But unfortunately, that's not the case - universities and colleges are at risk too.
So how can you keep yourself safe from malware? That's what we are going to tell you.
Cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to install malware on your computer. Keep an eye out for these popular tricks to stay safe.
Oh no! Something just popped up on your screen saying you have a virus, but you can click here to run a security check.
Don't do it! Hackers use the popups to try and trick you into believing something is wrong with your computer. In reality everything is fine.
And if you do feel unsure or uneasy, the best thing to do is to reach out to your IT department because they can diagnose a real problem.
No, I didn't spell that wrong. Phishing is another tactic that hackers use to get your information.
They might send an email saying you won a contest and to click here to claim your prize. Or they will send an urgent message claiming you've been hacked and to prove your identity enter your SSN.
The main thing to remember is that if something smells fishy (see what I did there), it probably is. Trust your gut and ignore the message or contact IT.
These are usually bad news to begin with because they are mainly used for illegal music or movie downloads. But hackers can even use legit ones to install malware on your computer.
The best thing to do is to follow copyright laws, and only download something from a reliable source. And definitely run it through anti-virus software before opening.
Have you heard about "that one weird trick" or seen similar headlines that just seem so irresistible, you must click them? Those are called "clickbait," and they are purposefully designed to make you curious.
The problem is that the pages are then full of ads and popups that lead to fake websites that install malware on your computer.
So steer clear of these types of articles, and if you do click on one, exit out quickly.
You and your colleagues are your own biggest risk factor. As research has shown, human error is the main cause of security incidents. So it's especially important that employees receive some kind of security awareness training.
Because hackers will exploit any perceived weakness, and in one instant, they can steal thousands of your student's and employee's records - and there is almost nothing you can do to get the information back. Plus, the damage to your reputation will be done.
That is why you have to ensure everyone on your campus has received some kind of data protection training.