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What is malware?

What is malware?

Malware is an abbreviation of malicious software that is written to harm other types of software or hardware. Examples include spyware, viruses, ransomware, and trojan horses.

How does Malware work?

Malware includes any malicious software that can damage your computer system. This hostile and intrusive software tries to invade your computer, smartphone, network, tablet, or computer system.

There are different forms of malware. This way, the malware can disable or damage your (mobile) devices. It is also possible that the malware takes over the operation of your device, which prevents your device from functioning normally, and you risk losing valuable data. The hackers often ask you to pay money to get this valuable data back, also known as ransomeware.


Not all types of malware are viruses, but all viruses are malware. A virus spreads rapidly, from one device to another, by inserting code into programs or other files. Does the software not use other programs to copy and spread? Then it’s not a virus.

Another common form of malware is adware. This malicious software infects your device with advertising software and displays many pop-ups.

Spyware is malicious software that infects your computer or phone. If your device is infected with this software, the spyware tracks your internet and surfing behavior. The criminals responsible for the spyware often sell your information to third parties.

Ransomware ensures that your computer, or the data on your computer, is blocked. The hackers who spread the ransomware demand money from the user. In exchange, they lift the blockade.

Trojan horse
Often a trojan horse ends up on your device because it is disguised as something other than it is. Without any suspicion, you will then bring in a trojan horse. It is only after the software has caused damage that you realize it is malicious. You may also be unaware because the trojan horse functions as spyware.

What are the consequences?

Sometimes, it is challenging to see the consequences of malware directly. Your system seems to be working fine because the malware is hidden deep inside your system. You can recognize malware in many ways. We list the most common consequences for you:

  • A clear sign that your system is infected with malicious software is a slowdown of your device.
  • Another signal that you don’t easily miss is an excess of advertisements and pop-ups on your screen.
  • Does your system crash regularly, or does your software crash regularly? This is also a sign.
  • Malware takes up a lot of space, so you can recognize the presence of malware by a lack of free disk space. Therefore, regularly check the available disk space on your device.
  • Because malware works in the background of your system, your computer’s fan may be blaring as the activity consumes a lot of power from your device.
  • New plugins, toolbars, and extensions may contain some malicious software.
  • Is your antivirus program no longer working and unable to update the software? Also, be aware!

What to do with malware?

Malware is not always easy to remove. The best thing to do is to come in contact with a cybersecurity expert. If you want to do something by yourself you can run a scan to find and malicious softwater on your device. Once your device is clean, it’s a good idea to change your passwords. Not only the password of the device on which the malware was found but also your email, social media accounts, your bank, and online stores where you like to shop. And always set multi factor authentication, if possible. Sometimes it is possible to use backups, but the malware may also be already on your backups.

How can I prevent malware?

The best way to prevent this is to be vigilant. See if you’re visiting secure websites and if the domain name ends in .com, .org, or another well-known extension. Ensure your operating system, browsers, and plug-ins are always up to date. Do not click on pop-up ads or open suspicious email attachments.

On your mobile, it is wise to only download apps from the Google Play Store or App Store. Please check reviews and score first, and do not download apps from third-party sources. Also, do not click on crazy links shared via social media, mail, or text.

But you can not be 100% to prevent everything. It is better to have a detection system, like Guardey. That way, you know directly when there is a threat.

Guardey’s Cyber ​​Alarm

To know as soon as possible that there are cyber threats, Guardey has a Cyber ​​Alarm. This Cyber ​​Alarm monitors all your internet traffic and checks whether malicious software gets on your device. If this is the case, you will receive a Cyber ​​Alert. This way, you can act on time and limit the damage as much as possible.

Do you want to be able to surf the internet without worrying about malware? Start completely free with Guardey and try for 14 days.

We are always there for you, promise!

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Frequently Asked Questions

I already have a firewall, do I still need Guardey?

Relying solely on a firewall for cyber security leaves your organization vulnerable to evolving and sophisticated threats. Cyber attacks target multiple vectors, including vulnerabilities in software, employee endpoints and web applications. Guardey works in conjunction with the firewall.

Firewalls keep out up to 80% of online risks. With Guardey, it is transparent which online risks did make it through the firewall. In addition, human errors are still too often made, so also train employees to work responsibly online.

I already have a VPN, do I still need Guardey?

It’s good that you are already using a VPN. This makes you invisible to malicious people, but at the end of the day, employees can still be vulnerable by bringing in the wrong orders or wrong websites.

Guardey is more than a business VPN. Guardey also provides monitoring in the VPN tunnel. This detects online risks and allows a quick response.

We are too busy for weekly gamification. Why should I play the gamification?

These days we are all busy, we recognise that 😉 All the more important is employee awareness. Make sure employees don’t accidentally make mistakes due to pressure. After all, that only creates extra work.

That’s why our challenges are only a maximum of 5 minutes and can be done quickly in between. A new challenge becomes available every week. As an organisation, do you want to play these challenges every week, every two weeks or every month? Of course, that’s no problem either.

Can I also play just the gamification?

Short answer: yes! It is possible to play just the gamification.

Have you already taken sufficient cyber security measures for your employees in the office and outside the office? But can awareness still be worked on? Then you can also play just the gamification. This can already be done very easily in just the browser. Check out our game only package here.

Is Guardey effective against phishing attempts?

Phishing is especially dangerous when you don’t know you’re dealing with phishing. That’s why our cyber awarness game is the first step against phishing. Make people aware of the dangers and make sure they have the right knowledge so they don’t click on anything.

Further Guardey plays a crucial role in detecting suspicious online activities. For instance, if a member of your organization interacts with a website known for hosting phishing content, Guardey will promptly alert you about the potential risk. By providing this proactive alert system, Guardey aids in preventing users within your organization from falling prey to phishing scams.

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Anouk ter Harmsel

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