Malware can be defined as any malicious software deliberately designed to create damage to a system, computer, server, customer, or network. There are a wide array of malicious software types existing, such as worms, Trojan horses, encrypted programs, malware, spam, adware, and ransomware. Because many of these malicious software types come from hackers’ dark corners, it is often difficult for IT support technicians to identify and eliminate them. In this article, we’ll explain what exactly these threats are and how to protect your network from them.
Trojan horses are mostly installed in computers by a Trojan virus.
These malicious software works by installing itself on the infected computer and hiding on system files, corrupting them, before deleting critical system files to deny access to the infected user. Upon deletion of the malware, the affected computer will show a series of mysterious and error messages before rebooting. Some malware can also prevent anti-virus software from detecting and removing an infected computer because it alters the computer’s registry. This makes it harder for the anti-virus software to completely remove the malware once it has been detected.
Worms are another type of Malware that spread via computer networks and expose personal and financial data to the malicious software. Worms are typically attached to email attachments and downloaded files. The worm infections often infect computers using security vulnerabilities.
Spyware and adware are other forms of Malware that install and run at hidden locations on a PC or laptop. They perform anonymous background tasks without the knowledge or consent of the user. They send pop up advertisements and perform various background services like changing the homepage of the browser, storing web history and running background services. Spyware records user surfing activities and sends this information to advertisers who use the data to advertise products. Adware collects online user information to sell to advertisers.
Unlike typical Malware that spreads through a virus or worm, malware only requires a user’s Internet connection and computer access in order to spread and gain access to the infected files. Typical malware is designed to do single tasks; however, many Malware applications are designed to perform multiple tasks. These applications are often developed by dubious sources using virus programming languages such as Perl and PHP. Other Malware developers write Malware to resemble legitimate programs that download on to a computer but are actually infected with a virus that allows the Malware to spread.
Common ways to distribute Malware are through downloads, advertisements, automatic installation of utility programs, and games on a device and via embedded security vulnerabilities found in some applications. Once the application is installed, it will search the Internet for websites that may contain vulnerabilities. Once on the website, the Malware begins to read and copy documents, images, and other types of files, corrupting them and then installing them onto the infected computer. When the documents have been installed, the browser begins to send a request to the operating system’s file sharing mechanism which allows the Malware to communicate with other Malware applications that are also running on the system.
Spyware is another type of Malware that collects information about a user.
The collect information such as online purchases, web history, and emails. Some spyware programs have the ability to monitor web surfing activities and send information back to their owners. Other spyware programs are used to send out advertisements. Some types of Malware are programmed to work in conjunction with more dangerous programs that can install additional harmful software onto a computer.
Computer networks are attacked by Malware that have the ability to hijack web pages and steal sensitive information. Spyware infects computers by capturing keystrokes to enter online stores, online banking systems or when providing personal details to online forms.
- Malware may also be bundled within other applications and may be delivered by email attachment.
- These applications may include game files, video clips or other files that may be exploited for malicious purposes.
- In most cases, once Malware infection is achieved, the only way to get rid of the Malware is to get an effective anti-malware removal package and use it to clean infected computers from all traces of Malware.