An attacker may be able to insert malicious code into any file, including common file types that you would normally consider safe. These files may include documents created with word processing software, spreadsheets, or image files. After corrupting the file, an attacker may distribute it through email or post it to a website. Depending on the type of code, you may infect your computer by opening the file.
What problems can malicious files cause?
There are various types of malicious code, and the range of consequences varies even within these types. It may be designed to:
- Interfere with your computer’s ability to process information by consuming memory or bandwidth (causing your computer to become significantly slower or “freeze”)
- Install, alert, or delete files on your computer
- Give the attacker access to your computer
- Use your computer to attack other computers
How can you protect yourself?
Read the full article at US-CERT.
- Use and maintain anti-virus software (and keep it up-to-date)
- Use caution with email attachments
- Be wary of downloadable files on websites
- Keep software up to date
- Take advantage of security settings