Undoubtedly, there are still reckless Internet users who click on any link, advertising, or application that appears fascinating or tempting. They do not comprehend the repercussions of their actions, and they consistently leave themselves vulnerable to assault.
Yes, you can get a virus without downloading anything. Simply surfing through malicious websites, opening unwanted applications and opening spam emails can make your device infected with a virus or malware.
This article will explain how can someone get a virus without downloading anything. Furthermore, the ways and methods of prevention in this regard will also be discussed along with the methods of viruses infecting the device.
How Viruses Spread From Websites?
Frequently, cyber criminals employ “Exploit Kits” to distribute their infections or malware. Exploit kits conceal malware within the software so that it cannot be detected automatically.
There are several methods by which hackers can circumvent the attempts of the average Internet user. Some of these methods are given as:
1. Exploit Kits
Exploit kits identify security flaws on your computer invisibly and automatically while you surf the web. Because they are automated, they are wildly popular among hackers.
An exploit kit is initially installed on a hacked website by a cyber criminal. The web page will then covertly redirect visitors to a different website. This site is where the actual attack occurs.
While a user is on that page – which may appear to be an exact replica of the one they meant to view – the exploit kit remotely scans their device for any vulnerabilities it may attack, often through web browser software including Flash, Java, Silverlight, among others.
If the software detects a security hole, it will transmit malicious code through the hole and install itself on your machine. After success, they transmit the payload.
Occasionally, the attack kit is obtained on a genuine website and is delivered using malicious pop-ups. Even the simple act of closing pop-up advertisements (also called adware) or even a pop-up social engineering attack can trigger the installation of malware.
The payload could be ransomware that encrypts your computer until you pay for the decryption key, botnet malware that takes control of your computer to perform attacks or crypto mining, or spyware that collects information on your private information or desktop use.
Another type of payload is the malicious data downloader, which opens the door for the hacker to install any number of harmful programs on your computer. And keep in mind that this is all occurring without your awareness.
2. Website Vulnerabilities
Now, in each of these circumstances, it will be necessary to download and run the malicious software packages. However, several criminals are able to accomplish this via covert channels.
A vulnerable site plugin or application, or a browser and system software that has not been updated, will render the user exposed to these types of assaults. The hacker can configure the application to automatically download and run in the background on your computer.
This has been a typical occurrence with the Flash application for many years. A hacker could simply upload a piece of software that would be executed by a web browser when it encountered the code on a website.
This code might be used to exploit the Flash player inside an internet browser. If this player has not been upgraded in quite a while, there may be a security vulnerability that allows malicious programs to infiltrate the user’s computer.
And instantly, there is malware on your computer. Several years ago, this was a regular occurrence and the means through which many viruses were disseminated.
This is why the majority of online platform has abandoned Flash so that its programming cannot be continuously abused to spread malware.
How To Stop Malware And Viruses?
How can internet security be ensured in the face of so many threats? The greatest thing you can do as a website owner is to maintain your website using the industry standard practices and setup a good web application firewall (WAF) and monitor it using a solid detection system. Good options would be an intrusion detection/prevention system or IPS/IDS.
With this method in place, your website and its code are scanned frequently to guarantee security and proper placement. If flaws are identified, they are addressed or fixed automatically.
This covers not just your website, but also any extensions that you use on your site, as the solution incorporates firewalls to secure them. It is a comprehensive solution for your entire website.
Man in the Middle Attacks
Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are another method by which you may accidentally download malware from a website. A hacker hijacks traffic between both the user and the internet application using this approach, which requires great skill to accomplish.
The attacker can fake the website you believe you’re visiting, allowing it to listen, or control data flow between your computer and the site you’re visiting by impersonating the website or building a gateway you travel through before accessing the website.
Unlike code execution vulnerabilities, man-in-the-middle attacks often require you to perform negligent or sketchy activities, such as connecting to a free public Wi-Fi network and leaving your devices’ Bluetooth and NFC features on in a public space.
Can Malware Exist Without Internet?
As concentration is placed on online security, conventional digital security is neglected. Because dangers are not confined to your online access.
Malware may infect your device even if it is not online or connected to the internet. There are so many different types of malware that work in a variety of environment variables and conditions. For instance, a virus can be programmed to work when the victim’s machine is not connected to the internet. The complexity and type of malware used will depend on the attacker’s motive.
How Can I Determine A Malware File Prior To Downloading?
You may now be skeptical of everything you may access online and wish to safeguard yourself, your computer, and, most crucially, your data from dangerous actors.
Before accessing or retrieving data or websites, it’s a good idea to identify whether the site has been reported to have malware, has compromised, or has complaints against it. The same goes for programs you wish to download, it’s always best to research these products, their developer, and review.
It can be conclusively said that there are other means through which your device can be infected by a virus without the need for downloading anything from the internet. Therefore, it is advisable to proceed with caution before possibly putting your data and identity at risk.