Malware is a software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.“Malware” is short for “malicious software” -computer programs or codes designed to infiltrate, damage or disable the computer, Computer Systems, networks without the user’s consent.it can steal, encrypt, or delete your data, alter or hijack core computer functions, and spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or permission. “Malware” is an umbrella term covering all the different types of threats to your computer safety such as viruses (previous post), spyware, worms, trojans, rootkits and so on.
Malware has actually been a threat to individuals and organizations since the early 1970s when the Creeper virus first appeared. Since then, the world has been under attack from hundreds of thousands of different malware variants, all with the intent of causing the most disruption and damage as possible. Malware does not physically damage the hardware.
Different Types of MALWARE
Possibly the most common type of malware, a computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another. A virus operates by inserting or attaching malicious code to clean code in order to execute its code. In the process, a virus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software, core functionality of the system or by corrupting, deleting or destroying data. They are usually contained within an executable file.
Some of the dangerous Viruses are, The Morris Worm, CryptoLocker, etc
Spyware, as its name suggests, is designed to spy on what a user is doing. Hiding in the background on a computer, this type of malware will collect information without the user knowing, such as credit card details, passwords, and other sensitive information. It is unwanted software that infiltrates computing device, stealing internet usage data and sensitive information as mentioned above. Some types of spyware can install additional software and change the settings on the device. It is always important to use secure passwords and keep devices updated.
Some of the common spyware is, Adware, Trojan, Tracking cookies, system Monitors
Worms get their name from the way they infect systems. Starting from one infected machine, they weave their way through the network, connecting to consecutive machines in order to continue the spread of infection. This type of malware can infect entire networks of devices very quickly.
Techopedia definition -A worm is a type of malicious software (malware) that replicates while moving across computers, leaving copies of itself in the memory of each computer in its path.
Some of the common worms are, ILOVEYOU, Michelangelo, MSBlast
This type of malware is very dangerous. It encrypts targeted files and deletes encrypted files if the victim fails to make payment within fixed time say 72 hours. Also known as scareware, it carries a heavy price. With 500,000 victims, ransomware of different variants made upwards of $30 million in 100 days.
Spread of MALWARE
Each type of malware has its own unique way of causing havoc, and most rely on user action of some kind. Malware spreads in a computer when you download or install an infected software. Some strains are delivered over email via a link or executable file. Others are delivered via instant messaging or social media. Even mobile phones are vulnerable to attack. Some malware is to be executed before it’s activated, but some spread immediately. Once malware enters the computer, it attaches itself to different files and overwrites the data. As malware travels within the network, it infects the computer within the same network.
Cybercriminals constantly devise innovative means to get malware onto your computer. Here are some of the most common ways that malware, including viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware, can be spread:
1.Email-Malicious attachments and links in emails that appear to have come from friends, organizations, or other trusted sources. Some malicious emails can even infect your computer from the email client’s preview pane.
2. The Internet-While surfing the Web once you visit a particular website or click a link and you may become a potential victim.
3. Local Area Networks (LANs)-If one computer becomes infected with malware, all other computers in the LAN may quickly become infected as well.
4.Social networks-If a social website account is infected with a worm, just about anyone who visits a profile page could “catch” the worm on their system.
5. Storage Media-Malware easily spreads through USB drives, DVDs, and CDs. While it may seem safe to open a CD of photos from a colleague, it’s always best to scan unfamiliar files first for possible corruptions or security risks before you copy or open them.
6. Outdated Software-Malware crawling through the Internet spread to computers through the vulnerabilities of outmoded software.
7.PopUps-Some of the most sophisticated malware spreads through well-disguised screen pop-ups that look like genuine alerts or messages.
Protection from MALWARE
There are two areas to consider where protection is concerned from malware: protective tools and user vigilance. Right anti-malware solutions and user policies can protect from malware.
1. Install Anti-malware software– Malware in a computer is able to travel within the network, So you need an anti-malware that can secure the entire network.
2. Scan Downloads-Scanning of downloads detects if a file is harmful or safe. An anti-malware can automatically scan a file,
3. Safe Link-Scan the link, check if it is safe and then only click on it.
Wiper malware is the latest dangerous business malware. They have a singular purpose of destroying systems and/or data, usually causing great financial and reputational damage to victim companies. As stated by Information security media group, corp (US)
The FBI has reportedly issued an emergency “flash alert” to businesses, warning that it’s recently seen a destructive “wiper” malware attack launched against a U.S. business.