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What is a malware? Definition and how to protect your self

Malware - you've probably heard of it before. We explain what is so dangerous about it and how you can protect yourself.

Malware, an abbreviation of the words “malicious” and “software,” is a collective term for any type of software designed with malicious intent. Sometimes referred to as badware, malware is often used interchangeably with many of the common types of malware listed below.

Malicious intent often involves stealing your private information or creating a backdoor into your computer, allowing someone to access it, its resources, and its data without your permission. Although malware cannot damage the physical hardware of systems or network devices, it can steal, encrypt, or delete your data, alter or hijack core computer functions, and spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or permission.

What is Malware?

Malware or milicious software is a file or code, typically delivered over a network, that infects, explores, steals or conducts virtually any behavior an attacker wants.

Different types of malware are

There are different types of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware and spyware.

  • Adware: While not always malicious, aggressive advertising software can compromise your security in order to serve ads. This can allow other malicious programs an easy entry.
  • Spyware: Spyware is malware that secretly monitors the computer user’s activities without their permission and transmits it to the author of the software.
  • Virus: A computer virus is a malware that attaches itself to another program and when executed – usually accidentally by the user – replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and infecting them with its own bits of code.
  • Worm: Computer worms are a type of malware similar to viruses that replicate themselves to spread to other computers over a network. They usually cause damage by destroying data and files.
  • Trojan: A trojan is one of the most dangerous types of malware. Once a trojan is on your system, the attackers behind the trojan gain unauthorized access to the affected computer. From there, they can be used to steal financial information or install viruses. Some Trojans are also classified as ransomware, for example, Trojan: W32/Ransom.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware is a form of malware that locks you out of your device and encrypts your data. This is intended to force you to pay a ransom. The code behind ransomware is easy to obtain from online criminal marketplaces and very difficult to defend against.

  • Rootkit: Rootkit is a form of malware that grants the attacker administrative privileges over the infected system. In most cases, this is designed in such a way that it remains completely hidden from the system.
  • Keylogger: A keylogger is a malware that records all the user’s keystrokes on the keyboard. Typically, the information collected is stored and sent to the attacker, who looks for sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
  • Cryptojacking: Malicious cryptomining, sometimes called drive-by mining, is an increasingly common type of malware that typically installs trojans. This allows someone else to use your computer to mine cryptocurrency. Basically, a malicious cryptominer steals your computer resources to make money.
  • Exploit: Exploits are a type of malware that exploit flaws and vulnerabilities in a system to allow the creator to take control. Among other things, exploits are associated with advertisements that attack via legitimate websites that unknowingly pull malicious content from a flawed website. The corrupted content then attempts to install itself on your computer in a drive-by download. Clicking is not necessary.
  • Bot: Bots are software programs created to perform certain operations automatically. While some bots are created for relatively benign purposes (video games, Internet auctions, online contests, etc.), it is becoming increasingly common for bots to be used maliciously. These can be used in botnets (collections of computers designed to be controlled by third parties) for DDoS attacks, as spam bots that display advertisements on websites, as web spiders that collect server data, and to spread stealth malware on download sites are used. Websites can protect themselves from bots with CAPTCHA tests that verify users as humans.
  • Fileless Malware: Fileless Malware doesn’t install anything at first, but instead makes changes to files that are inherent to the operating system, e.g. B. PowerShell or WMI. Because the operating system recognizes the files being processed as legitimate, an attack without files will not be intercepted by antivirus software – and because these attacks are stealthy, they are up to ten times more successful than traditional malware attacks.
  • Backdoor: Backdoors are a covert method of bypassing the normal authentication or encryption of a computer, product, embedded device (e.g. router) or other parts of the computer. They are often used to secure remote access to a computer or to gain access to encrypted files.
  • Rogueware: Rogueware tricks the user into thinking they have a security problem on their system, such as a virus, and trick them into paying to have the threat removed. In reality, however, the fake security software is the malware that needs to be removed.
  • RAM Scraper: A RAM scraper is a type of malware that collects data temporarily stored in memory or RAM. This type of malware often targets point-of-sale (POS) systems such as cash registers, as they can store unencrypted credit card numbers for a short period of time before being encrypted and then passed to the backend.
  • Grayware: The term grayware describes unwanted applications or files that are not malware but can degrade computer performance and create a cybersecurity risk. At best, grayware behaves in a disruptive or undesirable manner, at worst it monitors the system and transmits sensitive information to the creator.

How PC or laptop infected with malware?

The most common ways malware accesses your system are through the Internet and email. So basically whenever you are online. Malware can get into your computer when you surf hacked websites, click game demos, download infected music files, install software from an untrustworthy source, or open a malicious email attachment. So through pretty much anything you download from the internet onto a device that lacks a quality anti-malware security application.

Also Malicious apps can hide inside seemingly legitimate applications, especially when downloaded from websites rather than a safe app store. Here it is important to pay attention to the warning messages when installing applications, especially if they require permission to access your email address or other personal information.

How to detect and remove malware from your PC?

Certain types of malware are easier to spot than others. Some, like ransomware and adware, make their presence known immediately, either by encrypting your files or by unleashing endless advertisements on you. Others, like trojans and spyware, do everything they can to hide from you for as long as possible. This means they may have been on your system long before you notice them. And then there’s malware like viruses and worms that may work in secret for a while before showing the symptoms of their infection, Freezing, deleting or replacing files, sudden shutdown or an overactive processor.

The only way to detect malware before it infects your computer is to install anti-malware software, which comes with detection tools and scans that can catch malware on your device and block malware from running.

The Windows Defender included in Windows 10 already provides sufficient protection against malware for most standard users. Of course, there are other ways to protect your devices:

Also, stay alert. Avoid clicking on pop-up ads while browsing the web. Also, avoid opening unwanted email attachments or downloading software from untrustworthy websites or peer-to-peer file transfer networks. Also, make sure your operating system, browsers, and plugins are always up to date. Updating your software can often keep online criminals at bay.

If you are a mobile user, only download apps from the Google Play Store or App Store. Check the ratings and reviews every time you download an app. A low rating and a small number of downloads are an indicator that it is better to avoid this app.

Also, don’t click on weird, unverified links in emails, texts, and WhatsApp messages of unknown origin. Weird links from friends and contacts should also be ignored – unless you’ve checked security.

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