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Understanding the Different Types of Malware

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Malicious software—or malware—is dangerous software used to access and infect a computer or network without being detected. We hear terms like viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, worms, or Trojan horses; these are all different types of malware that can severely damage your computers and infrastructure. Cybersecurity companies are constantly on the lookout for these treacherous codes to stop them before they cause significant damage.

All forms of malware are extremely dangerous once they infiltrate a device, but the manner in which malware functions differs depending on the type. Below is a list of several types of malware and short definitions of how they work.

Viruses:

Function: Software that replicates itself over and over again once it is activated

Threat: Viruses will corrupt or delete data

Location: Transmitted via email

Adware:

Function: Software that throws advertisements up on your screen (pop-ups)

Threat: Can also corrupt your server and disable you from getting online

Location: Found on the web; can appear through potential unwanted programs

Spyware:

Function: Software that sneakily clings to your computer’s OS

Threat: Collects all kinds of information

Location: Can come in through terms and conditions you agree to

Ransomware:

Function: Software from crypto-virology that will lock you out of your own files

Threat: Will block you from your own files until you pay a ransom

Location: Usually carried in through a download or an attachment in an email

Extra: Outlaws

Worms:

Function: Software that relies on vulnerabilities in a computer and spreads like a virus

Threat: Will replicate to a point that your network is damaged and bandwidth consumed

Location: Found in vulnerable codes

Trojans:

Function: Software that looks legitimate but is activated once its program is clicked

Threat: Designed to damage your computer in any way—disrupt, steal, infect, etc.

Location: Appear in what looks like normal social media ads or other normal links

These descriptions only summarize some of the key components of what these malicious software programs can do, but they all carry an equal amount of concern if your computer is affected. Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list. Other types of viciously clever malware we haven’t discussed include Botnet, Rootkit, Spam, and more.

When malware was first created, it was used for pranks and experiments, but as these things do, it evolved, not for the better, and now malware is always destructive. In response, cybersecurity companies deploy SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions to combat these debilitating attacks. If your network or computer is infected by malware, you should contact a cybersecurity company, such as CRDS, immediately.

Malware is not the only form of dangerous online threat. Spoofing, phishing, and other security hackers lurk on the internet and can penetrate your computer’s basic line of defense. To detect threats before they become a logistical nightmare, get in touch. We’d be happy to discuss your strategic defensive options.

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