The term malware refers to a type of computer program designed to be secretly inserted into a user’s computer and infect it, resulting in considerable damage. It’s also extremely common, with more than 250,000 new forms of malware discovered every day. Malware can infect computers and other devices in different ways. They also come in many different forms. For example, some types of existing malware include viruses, spyware, ransomware and worms. For this reason, it is essential that each user recognizes the different forms that malware can take steps to protect themselves and their network from all malware.
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The most familiar malware is probably computer viruses. Their name reflects their frustrating ability to propagate through breeding. Worms have a similar effect. Most types of malware, such as spyware, are named to reflect what they do, in this case the theft and transmission of personal information.
You can be infected with malware in several ways. Malware is often provided with other programs. Malicious programs typically pop-up ads, sending advertising revenue to the program’s authors. Others are installed from websites, claiming to be the software needed to display the website. Still others, install themselves as a virus in flaws in Internet Explorer, forcing you to visit only the wrong web page to get infected. The vast majority, however, must be installed by the user. Unfortunately, it is usually much easier to be infected with malware than to eliminate it, and once you have malware on your computer, it tends to multiply.
Symptoms of a malware attack
While different types of malware have different modes of propagation and attack, some common symptoms suggest a malware infestation:
- Network connection problems
- Unauthorized deletion or modification of files
- Slow performance of the system
- Appearance of bizarre icons or files
- Freezing or crashing of the system
- Email being sent automatically without knowledge of the user
Types of malware
Spyware is exactly what you might guess – malware designed to spy on and collect information about the user. It can be used to track and monitor Internet activity, discover and extract sensitive information, and record keystrokes.
Adware is a type of malware that automatically sends advertisements to a user to generate revenue for its creator. This can be done through Internet advertisements pop-up or integrated into the interface of a program. Adware is commonly used with spyware.
Ransomware is a type of malware that can prevent users from accessing a system or data, or even delete or publish data if a ransom is not paid. This can prevent a user from accessing files through encryption. Most ransomware today falls under two categories:
- Locker ransomware: restricts access to the computer or infected device
- Crypto ransomware: restricts access to files and stored data
The virus is one of the most discussed types of malware. A virus is a malicious computer program used to change the way the computer works and that can replicate and spread to other devices. These can infect documents, script files, web applications and other programs.
The name comes from Greek mythology, where soldiers from Troy hid in a large wooden horse that was gifted to an unsuspecting enemy. Trojan malware works on the same sneaky principle. A trojan disguises itself as a standard file or software, but once it gets embedded in the system, it can allow the hacker to install more malware, steal data, and even monitor user activity.
How malware spreads
Each type of malware has its own unique way of wreaking havoc, and most rely on some user action. Some strains are delivered by email through a link or executable file. Others are delivered via instant messaging or social media. Even cell phones are vulnerable to attack. It is essential that organizations are aware of all vulnerabilities so that they can establish an effective line of defense.
How Does Malware Removal Software Work?
Anti-malware software has two main functions: detecting malware and fixing the problem.
Detect: The world of computers and the world of medicine have a lot in common: anti-malware acts as a vaccine to prevent various “diseases” from infecting your system. Anti-malware software uses a database of known malware to recognize and report threats. This database needs to be updated regularly to detect new threats – most of them update automatically. However, the anti-malware is able to protect against many unknown threats using a heuristic system. In addition to checking files and programs against a database, the software analyzes threatening behaviors. The ability to anticipate unprecedented threats gives anti-malware software an edge over traditional antivirus software.
Removal: In most cases, anti-malware software automatically scans and removes threats – you have nothing to do. Sometimes the software is not completely sure whether something is dangerous or not – it’s called potentially unwanted programs, or PUPs. Potentially unwanted programs are typically harmful malware programs, such as ad toolbars, and will not cause serious damage to your computer if they are not removed.
Quarantine: Once the malicious software runs in the sandbox and is considered a threat, it will be quarantined in your storage so that it can not infect your computer and you can manually delete it safely.
Once malware is detected, it is safely contained and removed in the background. If you need to suspend the background process, you can also do it. This is useful when you need all the processing power of your computer for another task. It will also analyze your downloads, avoiding any new malware infestation.
- Instantly identify and stop every untrusted process running on an endpoint with a single click
- Powerful antivirus scanner capable of removing malware, rootkits, hidden files and malicious registry keys are hidden deep within a system
- Forensic level stats and graphs allow internal processes and resource usage to be analyzed with unrivaled granularity
- Integration with cloud scanners provides real-time safety verdicts for unknown processes
- Perfect for ensuring network endpoints are totally clean of threats