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There are new breeds of malware out there. Learn how to protect yourself.

There are new breeds of malware coming. Be prepared.

A June cyberattack is estimated to have cost the shipping giant Maersk between $200 and $300 million.

But it’s not just global transport companies that should be concerned – new breeds of malware are out there, waiting to harvest your personal information. Even Mac users, previously thought invulnerable, are being increasingly targeted.

The malware is coming. Be prepared.

Ransomware

Ransomware

What Is It?
Quickly gaining popularity among more nefarious netizens, ransomware is simply a digital extortion racket. The malware locks your computer’s data and displays a ransom note, demanding money (typically in Bitcoin) to unlock the information.

Should I Worry About It?
You should – in the last five years, ransomware attacks have crippled individuals, academia, global businesses, government agencies, and law enforcement. Earlier this week, the IRS issued an urgent warning about a ransomware attack that appears to be an official government email.

What Can I Do About It?
This is where the unfortunately titled cyber hygiene is all important – always keep a backup of your data offline, use a firewall, and secure your personal data. As Wikipedia notes, security software typically can’t protect you; the software “might not detect a ransomware payload, or, especially in the case of encrypting payloads, only after encryption is under way or complete, particularly if a new version unknown to the protective software is distributed.”

Adware

Adware

What Is It?
Most of the time, you’ll know adware when you see it – it’s the endless pop-up ads and browser redirects that collect marketing data about you. But compromised websites can often install adware on your computer without your knowledge, hijacking your browser and collecting personal information.

Should I Worry About It?
Within reason.

What Can I Do About It?
Avoid visiting sketchy websites or downloading pirated software that might infect your computer. If you think you’ve been infected, there are a host of free removal and detection tools out there.

Wiperware

Wiperware

What Is It?
Wiperware does just as the name suggests – it completely wipes all data from the computers that it infects.

Should I Worry About It?
Not too much. Wiperware is increasingly used to target institutions, governments, and corporations as a form of sabotage; individuals appear to be safe, for now. The June Petya attack on Ukraine (which went on to infect Maersk, as well as other companies that do business there) was an example of wiperware.

What Can I Do About It?
Unless you’re running the IT department at a multi-national corporation, not much.

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