Last Updated on 2 days by Touhid
Have you ever faced a situation where your social accounts were hacked or the files in your PC got corrupted or maybe money from your bank accounts were stolen? All these are done through malware. In this post, we will cover the definition of malware, its type, detection of malware, and some useful tips to protect from malware.
Now what exactly is malware? Malicious software is referred to as malware as it is intended to harm, attack, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. There can be many different types of malware.
So, to understand malware you will need to understand these in more detail. Keep on reading to know more.
Definition of Malware
What is the definition of malware in computer terms? To say in simple terms Malware is a type of malicious code or software that is designed to attack computer networks, data, or hack into personal accounts. The main idea behind malware is that it may damage a computer, server, network, or computer system.
Malware usually consists of code created by hackers with the intention of breaking into a network without authorization or seriously damaging systems and data.
There are a variety of reasons for the development and spread of malware, such as monetary gain, productivity loss, political propaganda, or the simple desire for attention.
Malicious websites, malicious downloads, social engineering techniques, email, and other channels can all be used as entry points for malware.
What are the Different Types of Malware?
As we defined earlier the definition of malware and said, Malware can be of many different types each having its own intention and set of work. The first malware attack was released back in 1986 and since then it has increased drastically. Thus, to protect yourself you must know about all types of malware.
Virus is the most common type of malware out there. When the infected files are run, these self-replicating programs attach themselves to the normal software or files and begin to spread.
A computer virus is a software program that can spread from one device to another device without the user’s concerns and perform malicious actions. It can corrupt or damage data, destroy files, format hard drives, or make disks unreadable.
There are different ways that a computer virus can spread on your devices, which are as follows:
- Visiting a Vulnerable website.
- Viewing an infected website advertisement.
- Opening a malicious email attachment.
- Downloading and installing free software and games.
Thus, in order to be impacted, the victim must launch the operating system or open the malicious file.
Another common type of malware is Trojan Horse; this is the type of malware that seems like legitimate and safe software. But as soon as you open it, it starts to function the way it is designed to do.
Trojans don’t spread by infecting other programs. They frequently deceive users into running them, which gives hackers access to the machine without authorization.
Typically, it is designed to delete, modify, damage information, and block access to your system or harmful actions on your data and network.
Thus, it will secretly compromise security by generating backdoors that provide the simple entry of other malware types.
One of the worst types of malware attack is ransomware and as the name suggests, hackers use them to hack into your files and ask for money to release them.
Ransomware encrypts files into your computer, and you cannot decrypt them until you pay the money as asked by the hackers. Ransomware poses a hazard to people and groups that store sensitive data on their devices.
Hackers that use this kind of assault typically target major corporations and demand substantial sums of money in exchange for unlocking encrypted secret material.
Malicious software that gathers information about a user’s activities without being noticed is called spyware. In order to track an individual’s online activities and get personal information, including login passwords, hackers often utilize spyware like Pegasus.
It may be installed as a hidden element of genuine software packages. This malware monitors your internet activity, tracking your login credentials and spying on your sensitive information.
There are several forms of spyware such as browser hijacking, adware, and keyloggers.
Moreover, certain spyware records keystrokes from the user by using a device known as a keylogger. This allows the attacker to get private data, such as credit card numbers, financial information, and usernames and passwords, which may be used to steal identities.
This malware therefore gathers all of the data from your system and notifies the hackers of this when it is installed on your machine.
What is the definition of Wroms malware? A computer worm is a type of malicious software or malware that spreads within its connected network and copies itself from one computer to another computer.
It exploits the security holes of the software and trying to access in order to damage sensitive information, corrupting files and installing software for remote access to the system.
Worms work in a similar way to viruses but unlike viruses, they do not need you to open the file for them to spread. They are able to spread on their own by taking advantage of flaws in network protocols.
They can remain active on all infected workstations and can propagate to other devices. This kind of virus spreads swiftly, quickly infecting whole networks of devices. Some worms also serve as delivery systems for other malware to be installed.
As the name suggests RootKits, these malware work at the root level of the system. For instance, it gives hackers access to the system at the administration level.
This type of malware is much more complicated than the above ones as it remains hidden into the system which makes it very difficult to find it. Additionally, since it gets administrator-level access to the system it can also hide other malware which makes it even more dangerous.
It is typically installed through by exploiting system vulnerabilities, social engineering tactics, and stolen password or phishing techniques without the victim’s knowledge.
There are different types of Rootkit malware virus such as Bootkits, Firmware Rootkits, and Kernel-Level Rootkits.
Botnets target a group of computers together, so a network of compromised computers is controlled by a single attacking party. A botnet is made up of connected computers that create a network that provides the controller with access to a sizable amount of total computing power.
It is possible to use this combined strength to plan distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, spread spam, steal information, and place phony adverts in your browser.
Have you ever noticed unwanted ads floating up on your computer, or advertisements popping up on your browser based on your browsing history?
All these are part of a type of malware known as adware and can be of different types. The most common form is hackers track down your cookies and use them to show ads relevant to your search history.
Serving this content to users enables marketers to profit from user attacks since they frequently pay for each view or click on their adverts.
Crypto malware is a new type of malware that is designed to hack into your crypto mining account and steal cryptocurrencies. Attackers usually use complex algorithms to hack into the transaction and blockchain networks of infected computers and transfer the currencies into their accounts directly.
A logic bomb is a malware or piece of code that is intentionally inserted into software or application that impacts a malicious function after a certain amount of time.
For example, a software engineer may hide a piece of malicious code that starts deleting files such as an account database.
Its main purpose is deleting or altering data, reformatting a hard drive, and creating other malicious acts on a specified date.
The malicious code can be inserted into the existing software or into other forms of malware such as viruses, worms Trojan horses, etc.
This type of malware is difficult to prevent because attackers hide the malicious code in a script or deploy it on a database server.
However, here are some tips to protect from logic bomb malware:
- Periodically scan all files.
- Use antivirus software and Firewall.
- Keep updated antivirus software and Firewall.
- Do not download pirated or free software.
- Be careful when installing software applications.
- Do not click on suspicious URL links.
What Does Malware Do?
The main function of malware is to attack and infect any device with computing abilities like computers, mobile phones, tablets, and anything of that sort.
When they infect any device, the primary target is to either destroy certain files or gain access to the system. Malicious code is frequently used in computer hacking, which is the illegal entry of a device or network. Hacking and malware work closely in order to get this illegal access.
These activities might be carried out for a variety of objectives, including stealing financial or personal data, making money, interfering with computer operations, initiating cyberattacks, and more.
Malware is created for a broad range of reasons, including enjoyment for the attackers, financial gain, disturbance, political or philosophical declarations, or even instability.
How Do I Get Malware?
You already know the definition of malware and there are different types of malware. Hackers use many different techniques to inject malware into your devices.
Additionally, each type of malware has its own way of spreading but most heavily relies on the action of the victim themselves.
The most common way for malware attacks is through email. Often hackers send malware in email attachments and as soon as you open these attachments, malware is installed into your system.
Clicking on hacked websites
Malware can easily enter your computer system or network when you mistakenly browse through hacked websites. These websites have the potential to download and install malware on your computer without your knowledge or agreement.
As these sites include harmful code or take advantage of holes in your web browser or plugins it becomes quite easy for them to attack your system.
Using unrecognized USB drives
Another common way to pass malware is through USB drives, hackers often put this malicious software on USBs. This method is known as Auto Run, so as soon as you plug in the drive the malicious software gets into the system and attacks your computer.
Downloading pirating software
Everyone looks for free software and by doing so you expose your computer to potential threats. Usually, hackers hide malware inside pirated and illegal software.
So, when you download this software which looks like the real deal, this malware gets automatic access to your computer.
Which Devices are Affected by Malware?
All the devices that have computing capability can be affected by malware. This includes.
Personal Computer: Personal computers or PCs like desktops and computers regardless of the operating system are at the highest risk of being affected by malware.
Networking devices: Networking devices like routers, switches, and NAS devices can also be affected by malware causing weaknesses in networks.
Mobile phones: Particularly those using the Android and iOS operating systems, smartphones, and tablets are susceptible to malware, including spyware and risks exclusive to mobile devices.
Servers: Cloud and internet servers are also affected by malware, and this can lead to serious levels of data breaches in the server.
Embedded systems: Malware can impact devices that include embedded computing components, such as medical equipment, industrial controls, and infotainment systems in cars.
How To Detect Malware in Your System?
You already know the definition of malware, its type, and how can you get malware on your device. It is a very complicated procedure to detect malware inside the system. However, we have come out with a few techniques that can help you detect malware.
Your PC slowing down.
One of the most common indications of malware attack is your PC slowing down and it heavily reduces the speed of the operating system. This happens as the malware usually takes up a lot of processing power which makes fewer resources available for other tasks.
You notice unusual apps.
Another way to detect malware in your system is by noticing unusual apps on your computer. If you notice any apps or software that were not installed by you, it clearly shows your computer’s security has been compromised and you unknowingly installed malware.
A high volume of network activity
Increased network activity even in situations where you are not using the internet or making any other online connections to servers for the purpose of downloading or uploading data. In these situations, there is a high chance your computer got infected by malware.
The rapid emergence of unwanted pop-up adverts may be a sign of an adware attack. You’ve undoubtedly installed anything that conceals adware if you notice that it suddenly appears and takes you to suspicious websites.
How To Protect from Malware?
The emergence of malware attacks is increasing every year, so you must take preventive methods to protect yourself from these attacks. Keep on reading to know how to do it.
Premium antivirus software scans your computer regularly and figures out the vulnerabilities in your system. These not only help protect your computers, it also scan any malware so you can remove it. You can use a professional antivirus software such as Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Panda, ESET, Avast, or AVG.
Enable Windows firewall.
Your Windows operating system comes with a built-in firewall, and you can enable it to protect your operating system from malware attacks. By turning on the firewall, you can shield your system from malicious software and security risks by erecting a wall between incoming and outgoing network traffic.
Update all the software and operating systems.
Hackers are always on the lookout for loopholes in your existing operating system and updates make sure to take care of these loopholes. So, it is recommended that you frequently update your operating system and software to prevent any malware attacks.
If you have any websites, then you are also at risk of malware attacks. Through forced malware downloads, these assaults have the ability to corrupt website software, access private files, take over the site, and even hack into site visitors.
For this reason, in order to successfully identify and counteract these possible dangers, you must regularly do security checks on your website.
Install Cortex XDR agent.
If you are looking for a solution to prevent malware in your organization, then you can consider installing professional apps that prevent this. One such app is the Cortex XDR agent.
Regardless of the operating system, the Cortex XDR agent employs a variety of preventative techniques at pivotal points in the attack lifecycle to prevent malicious programs from running and legal applications from being exploited.
Be careful with unknown email attachments.
Malware enters your network most frequently through email attachments. So, you must be very careful while opening emails from unknown sources.
You may also make use of a variety of tools, such as ZEROSPAM, which offers cloud email security and anti-spam technology that shields domains from spam. It also does virus checks and removes spam emails for you.
How To Remove Malware?
If your system has already been infected with malware, then unfortunately it is not that easy to remove them from the system and you will need to follow a few different steps to do so.
Step 1: Disconnect your computer from the entire network.
If your device is connected to other devices inside an entire network, then the first thing you need to do is disconnect it from the network. If you do not disconnect, it you run the danger of infecting other devices in this system.
Next, remove the infected device from any internet access to stop the infection from replicating to additional devices.
Step 2: Run Antivirus software
After disconnecting your device from the internet, run any premium antivirus software (Avoid using free ones as they do not provide full support for malware detection).
Run a scan in the software and it will detect any existing malware in the system, then proceed with the on-screen information to remove it.
Step 3: You can use additional tools.
If antivirus programs cannot remove the malware from your device, then you can get help from additional tools like Malwarebytes. This tool is applicable for both personal and organizational uses.
It is an antimalware program that manages malware identification and elimination and can work on all platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS. Malwarebytes is capable of scanning a user’s hard drives, open applications, registry entries, specific files, and much more.
Step 4: Delete any susceptible files.
Always keep your logs and data entry checked and look for any susceptible files. For example, if you notice any files that you didn’t install or look fishy, delete them at the moment and do not even think of clicking them open.
Additionally, you can check and get rid of any questionable registry entries connected to the malware. Make sure to make a registry backup before making any modifications.
Malware can be a serious threat in today’s world and can bring out a huge problem on both personal and organizational levels. So, it is important that you have proper knowledge about this to prevent it in the first stage before happening.
Never open any files on your device that you do not recognize. Also, make yourself and your employees well-adapted with the knowledge of malware attacks.
In this article, we have defined the definition of malware, its type, detection of malware, and some useful tips to protect from malware. Hope, this will be a useful post to learn more about malware.
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