We all know it, the Digital Age is upon us and with it – new forms of security issues. One of the major culprits behind most security breaches on personal and corporate devices is malware. Every type of malware infection has its own way of attacking – mostly being stealthy and sneaky. In this article we will go over the types of malware, how it operates and what you can do to protect yourself. Let’s jump straight into it.
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What Is Malware?
Malware or “malicious software” is a common term that describes a program or code that is malicious to the system. For example, viruses try to attack, damage or shut down computers, systems, networks, tablets and mobile devices and often are able to control some of the features of the device.The motive of these attacks are different. Some of the attacks are focused on extracting money from you, disrupting your devices or stealing your private and personal information.
What are Different Types of Malware?
As with anything in the digital age, there are also different types of malware. All of them have a single purpose – doing harm to your personal device and extracting financial benefit. Most common types of malware are
Adware is an unwanted piece of software designed to display advertisements on your screen, often in a web browser. It usually uses a deceptive method to legally hide behind another app in order to trick you into installing it on your computer, tablet, or mobile device.
A virus is malware that attaches itself to another program and when it is run – usually accidentally by the user – it repeats itself by modifying other computer programs and adding them to bits of their own code.
Worms are a type of malware that is similar to viruses. What makes them different is that worms multiply faster than viruses. Additional difference is that the worms can spread through the systems on their own, while the viruses require some user action to start the infection.
Trojan horses most commonly referred are one of the most dangerous types of malware. It usually turns out to be something useful to fool you. As soon as this Trojan enters your system, attackers behind the Trojan gain unauthorized access to the damaged computer. Starting from that point, Trojans can be used to grab financial information or install other forms of malware, often ransomware.
Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your device and / or encrypts your files, and then forces you to pay a ransom to regain access. Getting the ransomware code from online criminal markets is easy and very difficult to defend. While ransomware attacks on individual consumers are currently declining, the number of attacks on businesses increased by 365 percent in 2019. That’s why business owners need to educate themselves on the basics of cybersecurity and online insurance. Ransomware is also known as the weapon of choice for cyber criminals as it requires quick and profitable payments in digital currencies that are difficult to detect.
How Can I Tell If I’m Infected?
Malware can reveal itself with multiple unusual behaviours on your system. Below are some of the main signs you might have one on your system;
- Your system is crashing. This can appear as a sudden freeze or a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) which happens on Windows Operating Systems after dealing with a fatal error.
- There is an odd increase in internet activity for your system. Take Trojans, for example. Once a Trojan has landed on the target computer, the next thing it does is access the attacker’s Command and Control (C&C) server to download a secondary infection, often ransomware. This could explain the sharp increase in internet activity. The same point goes for various different botnets, spyware, and any other cyber threat that requires going back and forth with command-and-control servers.
- Your computer is slowing down. One of the side effects of malware is that it slows down your Operating System (OS), whether you are browsing the Internet or just using your local applications, the usage of your system resources will seem abnormally high. You may also find that your computer fan is spinning at full speed – a good sign that something is behind the scenes using system resources.
- Your browser settings are changed. If you find that your home screen has changed or you’ve installed new toolbars, plugins, or add-ons, you may be infected with some type of malware. The reasons vary, but it usually means that you clicked the “Congratulations” pop-up.
How To Protect Yourself
One of the pre steps when it comes to protecting yourself from these threats is to be aware of them. Many users undermine the seriousness of cyberthreats, which is the ultimate reason why hackers easily gain access to their computers and sensitive information.
1. Install an Antivirus Software
To protect your devices and data from malicious attacks your first line of defense should be antivirus software. Research showed that having antivirus software negates almost 86% of harmful attacks on unsuspecting users. Additionally, make sure you do your own research on 360 protection cybersecurity programs for your PC and select the one that suits your particular needs the best.
2. Keep Your Updates Regular
One of general ways hackers are able to gain access to your device or system is to implement dangerous malware through unpatched security holes. It is why the developers are always working on searching for the loopholes and having them patched and updated. The next time the update pop-up appears on your PC, don’t ignore it!
3. Secure Your Network
The importance of having your network secured cannot be emphasized enough. Having a firewall active to safeguard and keep an eye to your network access is crucial. Network security prevents unauthorized users and hackers from accessing your Wi-Fi network and the devices you use. There are some common sense tips that can help you have a secure network connection such as hiding your SSID and renaming your network name. This method will cloak your active network and remove it from the public eye.
Malware infections can be destructive to everyday users businesses alike. Malware can also cause serious monetary and credit damage by disrupting critical workflows and stealing or encrypting important data. Hopefully by reading this article your sense of cybersecurity has increased. Also, take offline storage backups regularly to ensure that you can restore your data from the backup if malware infects your environment.