Malware types: Do you know the true meaning of malware?

Feeling cybersecure? Ever stared at the computer screen hoping a malware attack was just some horrible practical joke? If you are like the rest of us and have experienced this moment, then don’t worry we’ve got your back. If you have never experienced this situation, we’ve also got your back. We will give you the know-how to keep yourself and devices secure from malware.

What is malware?

Malware, also know as “malicious software,” is the main word that describes a multitude of malicious programs or codes that are dangerous to computer, phone, and other systems. It may sound a bit harmless with its cute name, but don’t be mistaken. The purpose of malware is to damage, breach, and disable the functioning of computers, mobiles, networks, and tablets. So, any device you use can be subject to a malicious software attack, including your Wi-Fi router.
A person sitting at a desk on a computer in a dark room
Malware is a bit spooky, but you can protect yourself

Malware is a tool used by cybercriminals, spammers, and hackers for different reasons which we will dive into a bit later. There aren’t any types of good malware, just to make that clear. As malware is software, it cannot physically damage the hardware of your devices, but it can steal your data, spy on your device activity without your permission or knowledge, and hijack your computer functions.

Am I a victim of a malware attack?

We get it, you’re a bit startled from the previous paragraph, but don’t worry. There are some telltale malware signs that you can use to check for malware, so you know the signs to look for from here on out. Protect yourself from malware by identifying these possible symptoms:
  1. Device is running slower than usual
  2. Getting a lot of pop-up ads
  3. Device is crashing (when your device suddenly turns off and does not turn back on or when your device freezes and does not respond)
  4. Lose access to files or your entire computer
  5. Antivirus protection stops working
  6. Everything works normally
Yes, you read that last point correctly. There can be obvious signs that something is going on with your device, but some malicious software can operate in the background with the activity going unnoticed by you. A reliable antivirus protection software can assist you in checking for malware, even the hidden ones.

Types of malware

Before we can tell you how to take back the power of your device against malware, we first have to identify which types there are and their signs… and we don’t mean zodiac signs.

Spyware: A software that gathers information about people or organizations and send it to another entity in order to harm the user. This is caused by accepting pop-ups, downloading software from an unreliable source, pirating media, and opening attachments from unknown senders.

Adware: A software that will automatically download or display advertising material when a user is online. This happens in the form of pop-up windows or bars that appear on a program user’s interface.

Trojans: Just imagine, like in the story, your device is the city of Troy, and the cybercriminals want to seize your device. So, they disguise themselves as a legitimate program but secretly inside there are malicious attackers, or in the case, malicious code. This malicious code hidden within the legitimate software will gain system access of a user’s software once downloaded. This occurs from fake email attachments and file-sharing websites.

Malvertising: Ever seen a pop-up that says, “you’ve won $1,000,000.00” and all you have to do to claim your winnings is click “download”? That is the epitome of malvertising. Malicious advertisements are used to spread malware and compromise systems. Malvertising distributes malware with little to no user interaction required.  

Viruses: There are an abundance of different types of computer viruses, but they all share the same goal and function. A virus is a program that replicates itself and inserts its own code into a computer program once it is selected or executed. You can get a computer virus by downloading media illegally like music, movies, and TV shows. It is also common to get a virus from downloading files that already has a virus onto your flash drive or removable external hard drive.

All different types of malware have different functions and present themselves differently. We cannot forget the infamous ransomware which has no limitation on what or who it affects.

Malware protection

You don’t have to leave yourself vulnerable to malware attacks. We will help you adjust your malware protection with these rules of thumb.
  • Ensure your device, browser, and programs are updated to their latest versions. Regular updates leave your device more secure against threats
  • Utilizing a good antivirus protection. (There are even free ones)
  • Always put your Inspector Gadget hat on with a monocle to truly inspect emails from unknown senders. Any suspected spam emails you should move to your spam folder. Also do not open email attachments from unknown senders. And remember, if it was really your lucky day to “win $1,000,000.00” they wouldn’t send an email or malvertisement asking you to download or click something.
Mal-where? Not here! At least not anymore now that you know what malware is and how to protect your devices from malware. We hope you found this article informative, entertaining, and filled with puns... per usual.

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