Malicious software, most commonly known as malware, is a term used to described computer worms, viruses, trojans, or other dangerous programs used by hackers to steal or destroy information. In other words, malware is designed to damage a computer, server, or network.
Malware is a threat to everyone, and you should always keep your guard up in order to detect any danger ahead of time. What does malicious malware do, and what should you be aware of? In this guide, you'll understand everything you need to know about malware.
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What Does Malware Do?
Malware is able to infect devices and networks in several ways, depending on how it presents itself to the user. Malware can be mild and easy to get rid of in most cases, but others can cause irreversible damage.
In fact, malware can be used to gain restricted access to sensitive information or to steal confidential matters to manipulate or threaten the user. No matter what approach malware has, all kinds of malicious software aim to exploit devices at the user's expense and to the hacker's benefit.
How Does Your Device Get Infected?
Malware creators come up with either virtual or physical ways to spread their malicious software. For example, a common method to spread infection is through a USB or through the internet with drive-by downloads that instantly download malicious programs onto your device without you even realizing it.
Phishing is also a common form of delivering malware. Phishing is when emails are disguised as authentic messages which contain links or attachments that deliver malicious software onto your device.
There's also the use of a command-and-control type of method, a more sophisticated approach that consists of the hacker communicating with the infected system. With this approach, they're able to extract sensitive information and even control the device remotely.
The Different Types of Malware
There are various ways you can categorize malware, one of them being by the way it spread. The main types of malware are trojans, worms, and viruses.
A virus, the most popular malicious software out there, is a fragment of computer code that enters and inserts itself inside another code of a program. Then, the virus forces the program to spread itself, causing damage.
A trojan is a program unable to reproduce but disguises itself as something the user would be interested in. The user is then tricked into activating the trojan, causing it to spread and harm the device.
A worm is a small piece of malware that is capable of reproducing itself. It alone can spread from device to device.
Attackers are also able to install malicious software manually by gaining physical access to the device they're targetting.
Malware Warning Signs
Malicious software comes in all kinds of forms and what you might consider normal and innocent might be a potential threat. Here are several common methods of infection.
Never Ending Popups
You all most likely had your fair share of encounters with annoying popups and advertisements. Some ads are legitimate, while others can be threatening to your device. That's because some advertisements and popups contain links to malicious sites that'll infect your device.
Your Browser Redirects All the Time
Not all websites that redirect you are malicious. However, if you're trying to reach Google, for example, and it redirects you to another strange search site, then you should be concerned. Or, perhaps a banking trojan diverts you to a website that is highly similar to your bank's real webpage.
To detect a clue of whether or not the website you're at is fraudulent, look at the website's address.
Alarming Warnings From Unknown Apps
There are fake antivirus programs known as scareware. The creators of these programs use drive-by downloads and similar techniques to install the fake antivirus program onto your system. Once it's installed onto your device, it'll begin to display alarming signs warning you about fake threats.
This technique motivates the user to register and pay before using the fraudulent tool that'll supposedly fix your problem.
Suspicious Posts on Your Social Media
Some malicious software focuses on using social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, to generate fake posts. These fake posts normally include captions like, “Were you really that drunk?” or “I can't believe you're naked in this picture!” The fake posts come with a link that, if the user falls for it, will turn into malicious software that eventually spreads onto the rest device.
Some malicious programs steal information from your device and hold it for ransom. Ransomware then blackmails you, threatening to release that information to the public unless the hacker gets what it wants. Others disguise themselves from what they're doing.
For example, you may receive an email from a so-called federal agency demanding money because your device was used to send out spam or view explicit porn. Unfortunately, some users have fallen into this trap, and even when they have paid, they still don't receive their data back.
There are tons of great antivirus programs that can help you protect your device. Yet, not all programs are eligible for both Windows and Mac. If you're looking to get rid of malware on your Mac, visit https://setapp.com/.
What To Do About Malicious Software
If you think that your computer or device has been infected by malicious software, then look for a reliable and strong antivirus program to install right away. If you already have one and you still suspect you have a virus, then you should either make sure the antivirus program has been updated or try to run a full scan to make sure. We've got more great tech-related posts on our blog that you'll undoubtedly benefit from so, be sure to keep exploring our site!
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