When you are surfing the internet with your machinal best friend (your computer) the biggest fear in your mind is surely the malware. Specially when there are thousands of various types of malware around our cyberworld; it is very natural to have fear. But sometimes knowing a little about these junks makes the fear louder.
So today this article will give a small brief of what is malware, types of malware, how you will know that you are affected and what to do to get rid of them.
What is Malware?
Malicious software or mostly known as malware is just a software; but unlike software, this software is created to damage your device, steal your personal documents, have access of your device and many other unethical purposes.
World’s first malware was creeper which was a virus but not harmful. Nowadays, we have various types of malware; among them, a virus, trojan horse, worm, spyware, adware, ransomware, and rootkits are deadly harmful. So, today we are going to give a look at these malware.
Types of Malware
- Virus: I think this is the name (virus) that comes to our mind in the first place when we hear the word malware. This type of malware is capable of reproducing itself continuously and can spread to other computers.
Basically, viruses spread in three ways; removal media (pen-drive, floppy disc, etc.), downloads and email attachments. Viruses are dependent on human activity for spreading. A virus can steal a host computer’s information, but they mostly harm the computer and its network. Viruses can also create a botnet.
- Trojan horse: Trojan horse or most of us call it Trojan is a virtual form of famous mythological trojan horse deployed in the city of Troy. This malware comes to your computer with a mask of ordinary files or programs; but like a trojan horse of Troy, this trojan carries various types of malware with itself.
Trojan horse creates a backdoor on your computer.
This door helps the malicious users to access your desktop; by accessing your computer they can steal your private data, delete important files, make crypto money or download and install more malware and many more. A trojan is also known for changing your desktop default and adding silly active icons.
- Worm: This malware is a similar form of the virus. Unlike viruses, worms are not dependent on human activity for spreading. As an example, when a worm attacks a computer it accesses host computers e-mail’s contact list and sends all of them a replica of itself through the mail. Then it again accesses the receiver’s contacts to send its replica and the chain continues.
Surly, independent self-replication is the creepiest ability of a worm which leads your computer to other problems like, consuming so much system memory, killing your bandwidth or overloading servers, in some cases, it can crash a computer system or a hole server etc. Computer worms are capable of containing payloads (piece of written code). Payloads are designed to steal host computers data, create botnets or erase files.
- Spyware: This piece of malicious software can be said an artificial spy for you because they are programmed to monitor your online activities. Once you are affected by spyware a hacker can collect information about your e-mail activity, browsing history, credit card purchasing history and code, all type of password and many other. But the worst part is, all of these will happen beyond your knowledge.
Spyware can spread to your computer, like a part of a trojan or with a tracking cookie. It can also attack your computer if you interact with adware (details are down below), porn ware (adult material content) or rick ware (various types of third-party programs downloads).
Adware: Adware is typically developed to present advertisement and collect information about your advertisement choice. Pop up adds or the software shows advertisements are some example of adware. In this view, you can call adware an advertising software and not harmful, but the sad truth is sometimes it brings so much damage.
Adware can change your homepage and can make your device really slow. Not that all, some adware contain malicious programs like trojans and spyware, how bad they are we have described previously.
- Ransomware: Well now this is a real threat to you if you are using windows (a pirated or non-updated version of windows). Ransomware is an example of modern-day blackmailing.
If ransomware attacks your computer, firstly it will encrypt or lock all your files and data. Once your files are encrypted, they will look like some codes and they will be of no use for you until you unencrypt them with a key; and for this key, those hackers will demand an amount of money. But the unfair part is that if you pay them, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back.
Ransomware can spread in many ways. Mostly it spreads through email attachments or malicious web pages. It can also spread by accessing your contacts.
- Rootkit: It is the nastiest malware in case of removing. Rootkit directly affects your device operating system. Once it accesses your computer’s OS it makes itself a part of that OS and continuously hides its presence.
The rootkit has the ability to steal and execute computer information. It can make your computer a part of a botnet or modify system configuration. Rootkit makes computer security weak so it becomes easy for other malware to access your computer.
Sometimes this malware alters some software specially when they are security software, and rootkit has a threat of detection. Due to all these problems removing rootkit relies on manual functions. But the problem is why anyone will try to remove something when he has no idea of that’s presence.
A Special Type of Malware
Botnet: Botnet is not like other malware described in this article previously. Botnet or robot net is a network of malware affected computer. This network is controlled by those hackers who created this botnet.
Sometimes we see in the news that hackers are making a massive attack on cybersecurity. On that moment one question arises in our mind, what type of technology do they use? And how much powerful they are.
The answer is very high-tech and incredibly powerful which is a botnet. Well, a single computer is not that powerful, but when a thousand computers are connected together, the power is massive.
A botnet is capable of stilling your information, send spam and malware to another computer (to make the network larger). This is the reason botnet is also known as zombie net.
This malware can spread through trojans, unsafe internet browsings, spams, mail attachments etc.
Wow to Prevent Malware
It is said that prevention is the best protection. We can prevent our computers from the attack of malware for that all we need is just a little awareness. Some ways to prevent malware are given down blow.
- Always use a paid operating system and always update it with available patches (these patches are designed to repair security flaws of the operating software).
- Always use a well-known anti-malware software suitable for you.
- Never enter insecure and wired web pages or unknown e-mail attachments.
- Be aware of your downloading, it is better to not to download any pirated documents or software; not always but often they contain malware.
Symptoms of Malware
We have described a few major types of malware and there are many other small but dangerous malware around us. Each of them can cause different problems and the spreading technique is also different in some cases. But besides all these, all the malware occur some common symptoms.
- An affected computer act so much strangely.
- Computer and browser get slow.
- Increasing of CPU usages.
- Files get deleted or modified automatically.
- The device takes auto
- Strange files, program and desktop icons appear.
- Sending auto messages or e-mails to other devices are contacted with the device.
How to Cure Malware
You can cure your computer typically in two ways; one is through the anti-malware application and another is manual.
- Today anti-malware programs come with strong detection technology. They can easily trace most of the malware and once if they are detected, you can delete them easily.
- But sometimes malware like rootkit cannot be detected easily; not even anti-malware software can detect them. In this case, you have to search for them manually and sometimes you need to format your computer either.
Modern technology is spreading fast and cyber-crimes are also spreading as fast as modern technology. These malware are just a part of cyber-crime. Sadly, we can’t stop spreading of cyber-crimes. So, all we can do is to know these modern threats and prevent ourselves by awareness to have a safe modern life.
Malware or malicious software is actually a brunch of software created for unethical purposes like stilling your data, access your device beyond your knowledge, erase your documents, etc. There are various types of malware like viruses, trojans, worm, spyware, adware, ransomware, rootkit and many others. But we can keep ourselves safe by being aware.