The term “malware” is an amalgamation of the words “malicious” and “software” which is used to describe any malicious program on a computer. Malware or malicious software refers to various forms of harmful software which include computer viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, worms, Trojan horses, bots, rootkits and other intentionally harmful programs. Malware is defined by its malicious intent which acts against the requirements of the users.
Malware is a web threat that steals users’ data. It primarily focuses on gaining access to your information in any way possible. There are so many web threats out there that it becomes difficult to figure out which ones you have to worry about. The major concern of most companies is data-stealing threats because they can steal their proprietary and personal information and use it for monetary gain.
Purpose of Malware
There are many types of malicious software that can harm your computer and are collectively termed as “malware.” They are designed for different purposes which include:
- Spreading themselves amongst several computers to collect users’ data.
- Certain types of malware are even capable of stealing sensitive private information like passwords, debit/credit card information, financial data, etc.
With ITL Total Security and Antivirus, you don’t have to worry about any such issues. ITL Total Security is capable of scanning and blocking all such malware on your computer systems to keep you protected.
How Does your System get Infected with Malware?
Malware can infect your system in any of the following ways:
- Clicking on links of malicious websites in emails or messages in social networking sites
- Visiting a compromised website (known as a drive-by download)
- Connecting an infected USB flash drive to your computer
- Operating system vulnerabilities
- Application vulnerabilities
- Social engineering in which cybercriminals trick you into doing something that puts your security at risk.
- Phishing emails in which you receive an email that looks legitimate and convinces you to download an infected file or visit a malicious website.
- When you download a program, the malware could come attached with it.
- They could come in email attachments.
- Malware can also come in downloaded torrent files or anything else downloaded from the internet.
Effects of Malware
Malware gets installed on a system without the consent of users and can cause a number of unpleasant effects. These include:
- Crippling computer performance (slow computer)
- Malware could search your system for personal data
- It could erase or modify your data
- It could adversely affect the operation of computer-controlled hardware.
Also See: How to Remove Virus from Windows 10
Types of Malware
There are many types of malware that can infect your computer. The types that can steal your data are called “information stealers.” They perform a variety of tasks, like recording the keys you press, taking screenshots of your desktop at random intervals. This information is then sent to the hacker. This way, the hacker can steal any of your personal data.
Let’s take a look at the major types of malware and their impact.
- Computer Viruses
Computer viruses have the ability to infect multiple files on a computer. They can also spread to other computers when infected files are sent via email or are carried by users on physical devices such as USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc.
Worms don’t require human assistance in order to spread and infect computer systems. Once they infect a computer, they use computer networks to spread to other systems. By simply exploiting network vulnerabilities such as weaknesses in emails, worms can send several copies of themselves for infecting new systems. Most of the worms affect the system resources, thus reducing performance. Many other worms contain malicious “payloads” which are designed to steal or modify users’ files.
- Trojan Horses
Trojan Horses are commonly called Trojans which hide inside the systems by masquerading themselves as legitimate files or software. Once downloaded and installed, they can make changes to a computer and carry out malicious activities without the knowledge or consent of the users.
Adware are the programs which automatically deliver advertisements to host computers. Most common types of adware include in-program advertising and pop-up ads on webpages, etc. Other types of adware use tracking tools to collect information about your location or browsing history so as to provide targeted ads to your computer screen.
When ransomware infects your computer, it encrypts sensitive data such as personal documents or photos and other important data. The ransomware then demands a ransom (money) to give back the data. If you refuse to pay, it deletes the data. Some types of ransomware even lock out all access to your system.
As the name suggests, spyware spies on what you’re doing on your computer. It collects data such as browsing habits, keystrokes and even login information. The information is then sent to third parties, typically cybercriminals. Spyware can also modify specific security settings on your computer or interfere with network connections. Some new types of spyware may even track users’ behavior across multiple devices without their consent.
Bots are a type of malware which are designed to automatically carry out specific operations. Once they infect a computer, bots can cause the system to execute specific commands without the user’s consent or approval. Cybercriminals may try to infect multiple computers with the same bot to create a “botnet” (robot network). The botnet can be used to remotely manage infected computers to spy on the victim’s activities, steal sensitive data and to carry out devastating DDoS attacks on computer networks.
Rootkits are designed to actively hide their presence and go unnoticed. They allow remote access or control of a computer by a third party. Once installed on your system, they allow hackers to take complete control of your system so as to steal data or install other malware on your system.
Removing and Avoiding Malware
Use a good Antivirus program to remove and block malware. ITL Antivirus Total Security lets you find and clean all types of malware on your system. Scan your system regularly to stay safe from all types of malware threats. ITL Total Security runs in the background to keep you protected from all malware infections.