About malware

Malicious software, called malware, are programs that can record every key typed on a computer, capture screenshots, steal documents and files and open hidden backdoors to your computer. This information is then sent back to the person who installed it.

Malware can be installed by anyone who has access to a computer or they can be hidden in 'harmless' email attachments or uploaded via 'dodgy' websites.

If you use Internet banking, malware can record your bank account password. This information can then be used to remove money from your accounts.

How to fool keyloggers

Key logging software cannot capture mouse actions. You can use this weakness to protect your information from keyloggers.

When typing in your usernames or passwords enter some extra characters – then delete them using the mouse.

For example, if your online banking password is 'anger':

  • type in 'dangerously' then
  • highlight with your mouse the first letter 'd' and delete it using the Delete key
  • then highlight the last five letters 'ously' and delete them.

When you click Enter/OK/Logon the password that is sent to your bank will be 'anger'. The keylogger would register 'dangerously {BackSpace}{BackSpace}' because it does not track your mouse movements.

How to protect yourself against malware

You don't always know whether you have malware on your computer, so it’s important to have the latest virus detection software on your computer. Make sure that it checks for spyware like keyloggers.

You should also:

  • be aware that whenever you use a computer in a public place like an Internet cafe or library it may contain malware designed to capture your information
  • keep your operating system up to date
  • be careful with file sharing programs - if these are not configured correctly, others may have access to all your files
  • increase the privacy level on your browser to not accept cookies from untrusted sites
  • never click on a web link in an email, as they may not take you to the site they say they are
  • be careful when opening email attachments as they can infect your computer
  • be careful downloading programs from the internet, use a trusted source and virus scan downloads
  • be wary of websites that use popups or seem 'dodgy', as these can be dangerous
  • use a unique password for Internet banking that is different from all your other passwords
  • follow our mouse action example above for getting around keyloggers
  • use malware detection software
  • set your web browser to not save passwords (and delete ones that may have already been stored).