What is Malware?
Malware refers to software that is designed to be invasive and cause harm. Types of malware include viruses, Trojan horses, worms, ransomware, adware, scareware, spyware, and other malicious software programs that attempt to subvert a computer, website, web application, or network.
To continue operating covertly, malware may be designed to parasitically live within a program or system undetected. While ransomware uniquely operates to root in and then disclose its existence, most viruses and malicious programs benefit by this concealed existence, continually rerouting, corrupting, or taking information.
What Can Malware Do?
Malware can wreak havoc on a computer and its network. Hackers use it to steal passwords, delete files and render computers inoperable. A malware infection can cause many problems, these can include:
- Stealing sensitive information
- Restrict access to files
- Disrupt daily operations
- Slow your computer/system
Types of Malware
There are many types of malwares, these can include:
- Viruses -A computer virus modifies other legitimate host files in such a way that when a victim's file is executed, the virus is also executed.
- Worms - Worms spread over computer networks by exploiting operating system vulnerabilities. A worm is a standalone program that replicates itself to infect other computers, without requiring action from anyone.
- Trojan Horse -enters your system disguised as a normal, harmless file or program designed to trick you into downloading and installing malware. As soon as you install a Trojan, you are giving cyber criminals access to your system.
- Spyware -Installed on your computer without your knowledge, spyware is designed to track your browsing habits and internet activity. Spying capabilities can include activity monitoring and collecting keystrokes.
- Adware -Aggressive advertising software that puts unwanted advertising on your computer screen. Malicious adware can collect data on you, redirect you to advertising sites, and change your internet browser settings and search settings.
- Ransomware -Ransomware is software that uses encryption to disable a target’s access to its data until a ransom is paid. The victim organization is rendered partially or totally unable to operate until it pays, but there is no guarantee that payment will result in the necessary decryption key.
How Does Malware Spread?
Malware spreads in computer when you download or install an infected software. They also enter your computer through an email or a link. Once malware enters the computer, it attaches itself to different files and overwrites the data.
How to protect against Malware
There are many steps that can be taken to prevent Malware from occurring, some of these steps can include:
- Keeping computer and software updated
- Use antivirus software
- Be careful about opening email attachments
- Be careful about opening unknown links or downloads
- Limit file sharing