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What is Malware?
Malware is the term to describe any type of malicious software created to destroy, harm or exploit any device, service, system or network. Cybercriminals typically use it to extract data that they can hold against victims for financial gain for themselves.
That data can range from financial data to healthcare records, to personal emails and passwords—the possibilities of what sort of information can be compromised have become endless.
Hostile and intrusive malware seeks to damage or disable computers, computer systems, networks, tablets, and mobile devices, usually by taking control over a device’s operations to interfere with normal functioning.
The Motive Behind Malware?
The motives behind malware can vary from financial gain to sabotaging a company’s ability to work, or even making a political statement. Although malware cannot damage the actual hardware of systems or network equipment, it can steal, encrypt, or delete your data without your permission.
Types of Malware
- Adware – Advertisements or pop-ups will appear on your device to lure you to download harmful content.
- Spyware – Spyware is malware that observes a user’s activity on a device without their knowledge or permission.
- Virus – Malware that attaches to another program and, when executed replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and infecting them with its bits of code.
- Worms – Like viruses, worms are self-replicating, the difference is that worms can spread across systems on their own.
- Trojan – Or known as a Trojan Horse, represents itself as something you use on your device and can be one of the most harmful malware.
- Ransomware – A form of malware that locks you out of your device and/or encrypts your files, then forces you to pay a ransom to regain access.
- Keylogger – A keylogger records all the user’s formats on the keyboard, storing the gathered information for later use.
- Malicious crypto mining – Or also called drive-by mining or cryptojacking, is an increasingly prevalent malware usually installed by a Trojan. It allows someone else to use your computer to mine cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Monero.
- Exploits – This is when a cybercriminal takes advantage of vulnerabilities in your systems and software to access important information.
How to protect against malware
- Check the domain and be wary if the site isn’t a top-level domain, i.e., .co.uk, com, mil, net, org.
- Use strong passwords with multi-factor authentication. A password manager can also provide good security.
- Never click on pop-up ads.
- Avoid opening email attachments from unknown senders or if you suspect the email of containing harmful information.
- Don’t download software from untrustworthy websites.
- Stick to official apps from Google Play and Apple’s App Store on Android, OSX, and iOS. Check the reviews before installing any software.
- Make sure your operating system, browsers, and plugins are always updated.
- Back up your data regularly.
- Download and install a highly-rated cyber security program that offers protection to your system and files. Another pro is one that scans and blocks threats from getting on your device.
If you need help choosing cybersecurity software for your devices, then contact our team for assistance.