What is malware? We have all heard of it and all dread it the same. But what actually is it? According the trusty dictionary malware is “software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system”. Pretty nasty stuff. Malware takes place in many forms. Such as Adware, Trojan Horse, Bugs, Ransomware, Spyware, Viruses, and many more. New types of malware is constantly being produced and updated so it is worth getting protected.
Named after the Trojan Horse legend in Greek Mythology (and the film Troy featuring Brad Pitt, duh). Trojan horses will disguise themselves as safe files and will find a way into your computer. This could be as an email attachment, URL link, download, anything. Once inside, the Trojan horse will then remain and live on your computer until it is detected by specialized antivirus software. Trojans allow remote third party access to your PC and will allow the hacker to all your sensitive info. Bank details, logins, contacts, you name it.
Adware is not as harmful as some other types of malware. Yet it is still one you need to look out for. Adware is designed to deliver a custom based advertising platform to you. If knows what ads to show based on what you look at on the internet (Adware watches everything you do). Adware can get it’s way onto your PC very easily. Most free software often comes packed with Adware built in, that’s how free software companies make their money!
Ransomware is one of the most advanced and most terrifying types of malware. Just as terrorists hold hostages for ransom, Ransomware will hold your important files hostage for ransom. It will do this by either encrypting those files and only decrypting them once the ransom has been paid, or completely locking down the system. Ransomware will find it’s way onto your system just like most malware, through your downloads. Be careful what you download!
You will often find Spyware with is buddy Adware. They are very alike in both name and how they work. But Spyware is much more harmful. Spyware will spy on the user, looking at sensitive data and monitoring everything you do. But also identifies weaknesses and potential ways that can allow other types of malware such as a Trojan Horse to get into your system.
The most popular and well know type of malware. What separates viruses from the rest is that once it is into your system, it will copy itself countless times and spread across you whole entire network. An infected computer may even spread viruses to other PC’s too. Viruses can have access to all types of information you certainly do not want them to have access too.