Different Types of Malware: Avoid Your Data Being Held Hostage
There are many different types of malware, with different types being used for different purposes. In this blog, we will outline some of the most common types of Malware and what effect they can have on your machine. As always, to protect your computer from malware, be careful when clicking links, don’t open email attachments from people you don’t know, and always have a reliable anti-virus program installed.
Ransomware is a type of malware that will block a user from accessing their data. This is usually carried out by encrypting either the users’ files, or their actual hard drive until a payment has been made – holding your data at ransom. Popularity of ransomware has increased drastically in the past few years and as such, ransomware attacks have been reported to earn groups upwards of $27million.
A Trojan (horse) virus is a program that will infect users’ computers disguised usually as something that will be beneficial to your machine, or often as an email attachment. Unlike worm viruses, a Trojan virus will often keep to itself rather than spread infections across the device or network. A Trojan virus can be used for a whole manner of purposes, all dependant on the attackers’ intent. They can be used to block anti-virus programs, to delete and corrupt data on the hard-drive, or even to steal your information (bank details, passwords). They have even been reported to have access to the users’ webcam.
A worm is a piece of malware designed purely to spread within a network. Once it infects a machine, it is then able to distribute itself amongst all other machines connected to the same network. Worms can cause damage on a network by consuming bandwidth and slowing everything to a halt, or even deleting files and sending documents via email – the latter of which can help it spread even further. It has also been noted that worms can install ‘back doors’ on computer, thus allowing even more threats to enter the system.
A key logger is a program that will record keystrokes and send them back to the attacker. As you can imagine, this can give attacker’s access to your passwords and credit card information. Interestingly, it has been proven that a smart phone can track keypresses on a users’ computer. The smartphone can detect vibrations each time a key is pressed on a keystroke, and by analysing the vibrations it can translate them into readable sentences. While a little farfetched, it does show how malware is always advancing alongside other computer technologies.
Rootkits are little piece of software which have gained administrator level access that can be used to hide other pieces of malware from the user and their antivirus. Root kits are installed in a way that makes them notoriously difficult to remove and as such, a very sophisticated attack of your data that implements a root kit could be devastating. Root Kits can be used for beneficial purposes. Certain root kit programs could be used to mount .iso files to a virtual drive for example.
Spyware will gather information about your machine and your data and send them back to the attacker without a users’ knowledge. It can also be used to track data such as internet surfing habits. These don’t necessarily have to be installed on your machine however, as your internet browser cookies could technically be classed as Spyware. For example, if you log in to Facebook, spend a bit of time on the Facebook website, and then start browsing other internet pages without logging out, Facebook will know that you have visited these websites and will start showing targeted ads relating to the pages that you have visited.
If you want to ensure that your systems are protected from the above threats, why not contact Affordable IT on 02380 000 770 to see what we can do to help protect you, your data and more importantly your business.