Understanding Malware and its Types

By Deepak Saxena October 14, 2016 Tech Tips

With computers becoming an essential part of our everyday lives, it is important that we must also know about the various computer infections. Most infections are caused by a corrupted program, better known as Malware. These programs are basically designed to gain access to a computer, damage data and files, or for monetary gain of their creators. Since your computer could contain extremely sensitive personal information and bank details, Malware infections could also affect your real life. So it is better to know as much as we can about this sneaky intruder, to prevent it from entering your computer. Based on their behavior, Malware can be classified in the following categories.

This is the least dangerous malware. It displays ads on your computer screen if you will click on them you will be redirected to a website. These websites however, might be infected landing pages that could host more malware.

  • Spyware:

As the name implies, spyware is used by its creator to monitor your activities on the computer such as your internet browsing behavior and send you adware accordingly. While most spyware are harmless, they can also be used by hackers to gain access to your personal information and access your bank accounts.

  • Virus:

This is where things start to get really nasty. A virus attaches itself to another piece of software and multiplies itself when that software is run or infected files are shared between computers. These come in all shapes and disguises, and are a real threat to your system’s integrity. It can corrupt files and make your computer practically unusable leading to data loss.

  • Rootkit:

It’s like a burglar hiding in your house and waiting for the right time when you’ll not be home. Rootkits are often hard to detect once they enter your system and will target your sensitive personal information, making it all the more dangerous. It usually enters your system when your virus protection is turned off and disguises its file extensions, making it practically invisible while it spies on your personal data.

  • Keyloggers:

Keyloggers record everything your type on your computer by hacking the keyboard input. This can be used to decipher various passwords you use on your computer or internet. It can also be used by hackers to gain access to your financial information such as bank account passwords and internet banking. You might have noticed the on screen virtual keyboards on various banking websites and portals. It is done so that any passwords and login information stays protected from Keyloggers.

  • Artificial security software:

The most commonly encountered malware type is fake antivirus. This program is designed to look like a legit antivirus, so users are misled into installing this on their system. Once installed, the fake antivirus will show innumerous pop-ups about your files being at risk. It can also block access to various locations and programs, making it hard to remove it from your system through conventional means.

  • Ransomware:

A true digital monstrosity, Ransomware is the latest strain of malware that is strictly programmed to generate money for their creators. It enters your computer through spam attachments and infected documents and encrypts your files. The encryption process is disguised as a legit svchost process so it cannot be detected. Once all its target files are encrypted, the program will display a ransom note to the user and demand money in return for the ‘decryption key’. Even if the specified ransom is paid, there’s no guarantee that your files will be restored.

Hackers keep developing malicious programs according to their need and purpose. They also do intense research to make malware immune to any antiviruses. Therefore, it is always advised to keep your anti-virus programs up to date to keep any such malware to capitalize on any security loopholes in the older versions.

 

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Deepak Saxena

"Deepak Saxena is a writer and blogger for The Phone Support. He loves to explore hidden features of the devices around him. Many of his articles are helpful to troubleshoot tech relates issues. Being a technical writer he keeps an eye on emerging technical trends and new features or updates releasing on daily basis. His articles are well to do for both tech savvy and non tech savvy audience."