Every year, there are various campaigns launched by the medical communities for protecting everyone from flu by giving them flu shots. The outbreaks of flu have a particular season, a fixed time when it starts to spread and infect people. When it comes to the world of technology, they are also infected by the flu. However, there is no predictable season for the infections of smartphones, PCs, tablets, organizational networks, servers, etc. It is always a season of flu for the world of technology. But, the flu of the technology world is completely different from that of the human world. It is known as malware.
Malware, also known as malicious software is the term that is used for describing any type of malicious or harmful code or program which is dangerous for the health of a system or network. The malware is intrusive in nature, invades the systems, and damages the system of computers, networks, and even mobile devices. Some malware is so dangerous in nature that they can even take over the functioning of a system. It cannot damage the hardware of the systems; however, it can steal, delete, or encrypt confidential data without the permission of the user.
Most common ways of getting malware in the system
When it comes to malware, it can enter the system via various pathways. However, two of the most common pathways via which malware access the systems are email and internet. So, it can be said that malware can enter a system whenever the user is connected to the internet if proper methods have not adhered to the security of the system. Malware can get into computer systems when anyone surfs through websites that have been hacked, click on demos of games, install malicious toolbars in the browser, open a dicey form of mail attachment, and many more. In short, any sort of item which is browsed online that lacks proper security measures can allow it in the systems. Malware attacks can never function without the most important component which is the user. It depends on the user what they browse and they need to take care that the items or websites they are using on the internet are actually safe and authenticated.
A user can make a gateway for malware when they install software from a credible source as well if proper attention is not paid to the request of permission at the time of installing.
Common types of Malware
When it comes to malware and to its types, the list is huge. Here are the most common types of malware:
- Adware: This is a form of unwanted software that has been designed for throwing up unwanted advertisements on the screen of the user and is most commonly found while using a web browser. Generally, this type of malware hides as being legit and tricks the users in installing the same on their PC or mobile device. Such malware might turn out to be really dangerous and the most common form of the target of this malware is credit card and bank details.
- Spyware: This malware can easily be understood by its name “spy” ware. Just like a spy, such software observes the activities of the users secretly and then reports the recorded activities to the author of the software. Such malware function in a secretive way without even letting the user know that his actions are being watched.
- Virus: This is a form of malware that attaches itself with some other program. When such infected programs are executed, generally without any attention of the user, the malware replicates by the process of modification of other programs and infects the other related programs with its infected series of codes.
- Worms: Worms are similar to viruses only and are also of self-replicating nature. It generally spreads via the computer networks and causes harm to the same network by destroying the important files and data.
- Trojan: Also known as Trojan horse, it is regarded as the deadliest type of malware. Such malware tricks its existence as being very useful for the system. When the Trojan gets into the system, the attackers behind the malware gains overall unauthorized access to the target system. Trojans are used for stealing confidential data such as financial information, business plans, and personnel data or even installs other ransomware.
- Ransomware: It is a form of malware that locks out the users from the systems or encrypts essential data. The attackers of such malware force the victims to pay out a ransom amount for getting the access of their systems back. The existence of such malware is increasing day by day and has been the most threatening form of it.
- Rootkit: This form of malware provides the attackers with all forms of administrative privileges on an infected system. It has been designed for staying hidden from other forms of software on the system, from the users and from the operating system of the infected system as well.
- Keylogger: This malware is regarded as the trickiest of all. It records the keystrokes of the user which he makes right on the keyboard. This malware stores all the gathered data and then sends it directly to the attacker who is looking out for details of credit cards, usernames, passwords and various other sensitive forms of data.
- Cryptomining: Also known as cryptojacking, it is a form of prevalent malware that is being installed by Trojan. It allows someone else to operate the system of an organization for mining out cryptocurrency such as Monero or Bitcoin.
- Exploits: It is a type of malware that takes full advantage of the bugs along with the prevalent vulnerabilities within a system for allowing the attackers to take overall control. Among all the other forms of threats, exploits can be linked with malvertising that is well known for attacking via a legit website that pulls harmful content from any bad site unknowingly. The harmful content tries to get installed in the system and take over it completely.
Who are the prime targets of malware?
To be very honest, anyone might turn out to be the target of it. There are huge numbers of consumers who use various types of devices every day. The devices are connected to various accounts in retail stores, banks, and other types of data. In short, most of the devices of today have something worth stealing. Spyware and ransomware are the most widely found forms of malware in the devices of today. The victims fall in the trap without their own concise. Whenever the attackers find out any form of vulnerability in the devices, they try to attack it and steal information from it. One can easily find out millions of bank fraud cases every day where the details about one’s credit card or bank account get exposed to the attackers. All of this has been possible only due to one reason, malware. So, it can be said that anyone around you or even you might turn out to be their next target.
Moving away from the personal device threats, big organizations are being threatened every day. The malware just gets within its information boundary and mines out all the information required by the attacker. It might also happen that any competing organization might also try to get into the data bank of some other rival company. So, it is best to always take care of the security of data banks as malware attacks cannot be traced at all.
How to protect the devices and networks from malware?
In order to protect the devices along with the organizational networks from malware, the prime thing that can be done is to update the security of the systems. It might not be possible to that extent when it comes to personal devices but it is possible in case of organizational database and networks. That is where cybersecurity comes into play. It helps in protecting all forms of sensitive data from external attacks by updating the systems from time to time according to the evolution of the attacks. It is true that malware attacks are not going to stop that easily, but it is the duty of the organizations to take care of their system with proper cybersecurity in place.
When it comes to personal devices like PCs and mobile devices, it is best not to open any kind of suspicious attachment in emails or suspicious advertisements on the websites. Stay vigilant always and this way you can easily prevent any form of malware attack.