What is malware?
Malware is shortform for malicious software. It is any software created to inflict damage or to gain access to a computer, server, client or computer network. Often, while the victim remains unaware of the fact that their security has been breached. A common alternative malware description is ‘computer virus’ – although great differences exist between these types of malware.
This article will assist you in understanding the types of malware that exists.
A virus is a form of malware able to copy itself and spread to other computers. Viruses frequently spread to other computers by attaching to different programs and executing code when a user launches one of those infected programmes.
Today, pure computer viruses are uncommon, comprising for less than 10 percent of all malware. That is a good thing because the only type of malware that “infects” other files is viruses. This makes them difficult to clean up because the malware has to be executed from the legitimate program. That has always been nontrivial, and it’s nearly impossible today. The best antivirus programs struggle to do it correctly and in many (if not most) cases the infected file will be quarantined or deleted.
Computer worms are among the most common malware types. They spread across computer networks, exploiting bugs in the operating system. Linux is an open source platform, making the cost of Linux VPS much lower. Worms usually cause harm to their host networks through bandwith usage and overloading web servers. There may also be “payloads” in computer worms that damage host computers. Payloads are pieces of code written to perform actions on computers that are affected by worm. Commonly, payloads are designed to steal data, remove files, or create botnets.
Computer worms have been replaced by Trojan horse malware programs as the weapon of choice for hackers. It is a type of malware pose as a regular file or program to trick users to download and install malware. A trojan can offer a malicious party remote access to an infected computer. Once an attacker accesses an infected computer, the attacker can steal data (logins, financial data, even electronic money), install more malware, modify files, monitor user activity ( screen watching, keylogging, etc), use the computer in botnets, and anonymize the attacker’s internet ability.
In the software context, a bug is a flaw which produces an unwanted outcome. Generally such errors are the product of human error, and usually occur in a source code or compilers of a program. Minor bugs only slightly affect the behavior of a program, and can therefore go on for long periods of time before it is discovered. It can cause more significants bugs to crash or freeze. Security bugs are the most serious type of bugs and can allow attackers to bypass user authentication, override access privileges or steal data. Hence, avoid bugs by implementing quality control, and using code analysis tool.
Bots are software programs that are created to perform specific operations automatically. While some bots are created for relatively harmless purposes, malicious use of bots is becoming increasingly common. Bots can be used in botnets ( collections of computers to be controlled by third parties) for DDoS attacks. Moreover, as spambots rendering advertisements on websites. Next, as web spiders that scrape server data. Also, for distributing malware disguised as popular search items on download sites. Websites can use CAPTCHA tests to guard agains bots which verify users as human.
Ransomware is a type of malware which basically holds a computer system captive while demanding a ransom. For instance, the malware limits user access to the device by either encrypting files on the hard drive or locking the system down. Then, shows messages to force the user to pay the malware creator to remove the restrictions and get back to their device. Usually, ransomware spreads like a typical computer worm ending up on a computer via a downloaded file or some other flaw in a network service.
If you are fortunate, the only malware program you have come into contact is adware, which aims to expose the end-user to unwanted, potentially harmful ads. An adware program may redirect browser searches of a user to a look-alike web pages that contain other product promotions.
Tips for Malware Prevention
- Ensure that you install all security updates and patches.
- Avoid suspicious links and emails.
- Avoid suspicious websites.
- Review software carefully before downloading.
- Leverage strong, unique passwords.
- Turn on your firewall.
- Install an anti-virus/anti-malware software.
- Limit application privileges.