Malware is a common term used to describe a variety of programs and extensions for browsers and such like that are capable of harming your system or stealing your personal information. Since information and computational resources are the most important commodities in the digital era of the internet, the amount of cyber threats is growing by the day.
There are many simple things you can do to avoid many of the threats that can be encountered online. However, even the most careful person may find themselves in a situation where their device is plagued with viruses, spyware, and other threats. Often, a single visit to a weird suspicious website is enough to turn your PC into an infected hive of all sorts of malware!
The term consists of words MALicious software meaning that it is a piece of software designed to do, well, malicious things to your machine. The big problem is that some infections are quite hard to identify. They will silently sit on your PC and wait for a good moment to strike!
Let’s talk about their types!
Malware is a collective name for a variety of programs that can harm your hardware or steal your personal information. Here are some of the types of malicious programs that you may meet on the web:
– Trojans are probably the earliest birds of the era when computers became vulnerable to external hacker attacks. A Trojan is a virus that tries to hide on your machine pretending to be a standard OS tool or a harmless program. It may steal your data, passwords or use your hardware for bitcoin mining!
– Viruses are small programs that spread within a network of computers by copying themselves until they infect all available machines. These programs are used for many purposes. Very often, they are used as sources of computational power for hacking and password breaking.
– Adware is tiny apps or extensions that are designed to show you various commercials against your will. They are often harmless yet very annoying and significantly reduce user experience.
– Spyware is programs that are used to spy on you, as the name suggests. These programs will record your actions, log your keyboard inputs, steal videos and other media. The programs then share this information with a hacker.
– Ransomware was a big issue for many Windows PC users. A program will lock the PC and ask for money to unlock it. Obviously, even sending money to the attached credentials does not fix the issue. Lately, these programs started asking for ransom in BTC to make tracing the creators of such programs impossible.
– A rootkit is a small worm that gives access to some systems of your PC to a hacker who can control them remotely. These are tiny programs that are hard to detect. The big problem with them is that they are often very dangerous and allow hackers to easily steal your credentials.
– Bots are special programs designed to automatically perform specific actions programmed by the creator. They can be quite useful for users who use them intentionally. However, a bot developed by a hacker can do a lot of harm!
– Worms are viruses developed to infiltrate the system and quickly start multiplying while obtaining access to internet bandwidth.
Obviously, you should be avoiding strange websites, downloading unknown extensions and files, and also looking into various antivirus software solutions that may help you protect the machine from any external attacks.
Downloading an antivirus program such as Kaspersky AV, AVIRA, Norton Antivirus or ESET will reduce the chances of getting a virus dramatically. They will also scan the system to search for already existing viruses and malware.
Android and Apple devices can be protected with specialized apps often developed by the companies mentioned above. Search for premium versions of such apps to ensure high-end security.
After installing these programs, you need to update them regularly and keep databases fresh as well.