One click and a new malicious malware Azov could erase all your data

It’s popping up everywhere and the scary part is that it looks like something you can trust from someone you know. Instead, this nasty, fast-spreading malware called Azov can wipe you out.

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Azov malware can write its own code, making it uniquely destructive — and difficult to detect.

Azov malware can write its own code, making it uniquely destructive — and difficult to detect.
(Fox News)

What is Azov and how does it wipe you out?

Azov is a particularly aggressive form of malware that can completely and irreversibly destroy all data found on certain devices. Check Point Research discovered that Azov has a unique ability to write its own code that allows it to overwrite your information with random data and quickly infect your PC, smartphone or tablet.

Even more disturbingly, Azov’s code-writing abilities also help evade detection by creating a completely different code every time it damages one of your devices. This ability makes it all the more easy for Azov to infect the files used to launch and run applications and effectively clean your devices.

What does Azov look like?

There are currently two different versions of Azov. They share most of their abilities, but this latest version uses a different ransom note and file extension for the corrupted file it creates. This is what it looks like when you are tricked into allowing this malware on one of your devices.

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A ransom demand resulting from malware.

A ransom demand resulting from malware.
(Check Point Research)

Be careful what you click on

Hackers realize that we are likely to open an online greeting card personally addressed to us with a mouse click. Unfortunately, when it comes to Azov, this may include a digital holiday or birthday card.

If you receive a greeting card from Paperless Post or similar sites, don’t worry. However, if you don’t recognize the website and/or the greeting card comes as an attachment, leave this card unopened as the only thing found inside is likely to be malware or ransomware.

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A virus and spyware alert message on a laptop screen at a home in London following a major cyber attack on NHS computer systems.

A virus and spyware alert message on a laptop screen at a home in London following a major cyber attack on NHS computer systems.
(Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

How to protect your devices from malware

1. Update your software and back up your data

While hackers do their best to keep up to date with the latest software, keeping the software on your device up to date makes it harder for them to hack into your device. It’s important to make sure you’re running the latest software on all of your devices.

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For Mac users

This gives you the option to update the software on your device either manually or automatically

For PC users

It is also advisable to constantly back up your data to cloud or external drive to protect it from hackers. Go to CyberGuy.com/BackUpYourDevices for steps on backing up your Windows or Mac computer.

2. Install a trusted antivirus program

The best way to protect your devices from Azov and other malware is to have a trusted antivirus program installed and running on your devices.

My top pick is TotalAV (Limited Time Offer: $19 first year (80% off). TotalAV is packed with features to protect you from malware and keep you safe while browsing the web, including ransomware protection, real-time antivirus, and elimination viruses and malware, a tool to free up disk space on your computer, and more. See my expert rating of the best antivirus protection by searching “Best Antivirus” on CyberGuy.com.

For more of my security tips, visit CyberGuy.com and subscribe to my free newsletter.

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