Each day, the number of devices connected to the internet increases. Gone are the days when we used to pick up the phone and call a loved one far away, or go to the stores to buy something. The options for communicating with loved ones, doing business transactions and finding entertainment online has increased hundred fold, with the ratio changing in favour of online transactions.
The digital world we live in has become a huge part of our lives, even if we realize it or not. We depend so heavily on doing so many activities online, but we should keep in mind that not everything is safe. Cyber threats are a very real danger, and new viruses keep coming up every day, and even if one of those gets through your security, it could really cause damage to your computer.
Most viruses and malware these days are invisible. That means you won’t know if they have infiltrated your computer’s security, until something drastic has happened. In fact, viruses can slow down your internet speed and your browsing speed as they can secretly be running in the background, using up your bandwidth.
This is why many reputable tech blogs and companies like BlueGadgetTooth recommend that you get some sort of antivirus program for your computers. However, just about any antivirus program won’t cut it.
There are different types of Malware that operate very differently from each other, and knowing the type of threats your computer faces will help you make the best choice when selecting the best anti-virus program to buy. Knowing about the way different malware operate and their effect on your computers will help you be prepared against future threats.
Let’s move on to Malware and the different types there are.
To put it in a nutshell, malware is malicious software that targets computers for harmful intent. They could steal your data, your identity, be spy tools to keep track of your online movements or even be used to destroy or corrupt your data/ computers.
Malware is an umbrella term that includes viruses and other cyber threats.
As Malware is such a broad umbrella term, we should go beneath the umbrella to understand what type of malware attacks there are and how they are implemented. To really know how malware is executed, we must understand the different types of malware attacks.
1) Zero Day: This almost sounds like training day – or something out of a doomsday movie, and maybe you wouldn’t be so far off the mark. Current computer security programs offer protection against zero day threats which are the most common and popular threats. This is a kind of malware attack that targets sensitive data and confidential information located in your computers could be vulnerable via undisclosed loopholes and hidden gateways.
2) Exploit: This type of malware attack focuses on a common problem that is known to experts, with the malicious user exploiting this information to gain access to devices. This is different from Zero day threats as they exploit existing vulnerabilities in devices.
3) Blended: When you think of Zero day threats and Exploit attacks, it is clear that there is only one type of threat at work. However, when it comes to Blended Malware attacks; it becomes like a special package deal, with various malware tools being employed to target different areas, with malicious intent. You could have spyware getting access to confidential data, while another malware attack could be encrypting your files.
A hacker could utilise multiple malware tools for malware attacks. These will be different from the type of malware attacks mentioned above. Remember, malware is an umbrella term that tends to shelter many types of malware such as viruses.
Many people tend to think that malware and viruses are one and the same, but in reality, they are not. All viruses are malware, but all malware don’t necessarily have to be viruses. This is why selecting the best type of antivirus program for your computer is important, as many target and protect you from the biggest and most common viruses.
Like we explained earlier, there are many forms of malware that could wreck havoc on your computer. You should know about the different forms of malware so that you will have a better idea on how to deal with getting them removed from your system, or even simply following the adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’.
After all, you don’t want to be stuck with a computer that is riddled with viruses and malware, slowly draining your bandwidth, siphoning off your supposedly secure credentials and online identity. Cyber crime is very real, ad it is happening to a huge amount of people.
When it comes to dealing with malware, you may probably need to employ various kinds of antivirus programs to deal with either removing or preventing malware. Each type of malware has a specific solution, and the BlueGadgetTooth team looked into dedicated solutions for removing each particular type of malware mentioned below.
This is the most common type of malware, and you would be forgiven in thinking that viruses are the main culprit of things going wrong with your computer, stamping the ‘Virus’ tag on every malware you come across. Viruses date back decades, and considering their age and presence in the computer industry, it is actually not unreasonable to think that most security issues deal with viruses.
A virus is basically a program that replicates itself in your computer, corrupting data files or even your computer’s hard drive. It works by modifying other computer programs and by replicating itself and inserting its own code onto other computer programs. When this occurs, the area is known to be ‘infected’.
Viruses cause billions of dollars worth of damage annually, leading to data corruption, system failure, increased maintenance budgets as well as a drain on computer resources. There are different types of viruses floating around on the World Wide Web, and this bad code can be sorted out through many popular antivirus programs available today.
This used to be quite the problem, as it would target your computer’s OS, but now has faded into obscurity as many OS today have inbuilt security that prevent this type of virus from entering and affecting your computer. Outdated PCs can still face trouble from this virus, if you are not careful. Simply upgrade your computer so you are better protected, and use any popular antivirus program to be on the safe side.
This is another popular type of virus that targets Microsoft users – specifically, users who have Microsoft Office Suite installed on their devices.
Bit firstly, you must understand what macros are. Macros are a set of commands that are utilised in software like Office Suite, and this virus takes advantage of loopholes within the particular software to gain entry to the overall system.
However, as technology has evolved, so have protective measures against these viruses and most OS as well as various software installed in the computers and programs have in built preventive measures against these macro viruses. So, if you have newer devices, you’re pretty safe, but if you have older devices, you better watch out.
BGT Solution: Viruses can be dealt with a lot easier these days – all you have to do is get an effective antivirus program to keep these pesky viruses at bay.
The epic saga involving Helen of Troy comes to mind, and that one sneaky Greek gift managed to get the better of the Trojans.
You have to beware of Trojan horses, even though they are constantly floating around the online sphere, accounting for over 80% of all malware. They are considered to be amongst the most dangerous malware right now as they disguise themselves as useful software and fool your computer to accepting it. Once it is inside your computer, it can stealthily impact your computer to give backdoor access to unauthorised users, leading to ransomware attacks.
A Trojan Horse is a backdoor malware that gives unauthorised users access to your computer, and all the data held within.
The Trojan Horse infects the computer, and through it, the malicious user can then control all actions in that infected computer – they can send data, receive data, delete files, reboot the computer and much more. You certainly wouldn’t want unauthorised cyber criminals to have access to sensitive data in your computers.
You can get Trojan Horses via communication media – like opening attachments from suspicious emails, certain dubious sites or downloading content from unreliable sources. Older browser versions of IE and Chrome may be susceptible to attack from hackers.
BGT Solution: You will have to get specific dedicated anti-malware programs or even complete security packages to completely detect and remove Trojan horses from your computer. You should also update your browser versions to the latest ones.
Not many people like worms in real life, and in the cyber world, even more so. Think of data annihilation, and once a worm infects your computer, the worst case scenario could be that you can lose all data on your hard drive. This is scary news indeed.
A worm is a self replicating malware that takes advantage of any security loopholes to access computers, where then it will cause harm.
Worms are not as bad as certain viruses or Trojan horses, and infect computers via networks where the devices are older, with flawed security loopholes in their OS. Not all worms are as destructive however, and some are harmless worms that just spread to various computers, causing a few problems.
BGT Solution: Ensure that your systems are updated on a regular basis, that your networks are secure and to have an antivirus/ anti malware program as a backup method of worm detection and removal.
This is exactly as what the name suggests. It is malicious software designed to spy on a person and gain access to confidential information without their knowledge or consent.
Spyware can track and store information on user’s online movements, monitor users, collect confidential data and create annoying pop up ads that will clog up your bandwidth.
In fact, some spyware can make changes to your computer settings, which could lead to slower internet speeds due to unauthorised adjustments in browser settings and more. These are one of many reasons for slow internet speeds. Apart from the presence of multiple pop up ads, you may not know if there is spyware hidden in your system, and this can be dangerous as you private data can be compromised.
BGT Solution: Avoid dubious websites, opening unknown attachments from unknown sources, and have antimalware programs running so that spyware can be detected and removed before they do any damage.
Oh the joy of the advertising world can be the bane of your life. Have you tried loading a movie online, only to have multiple websites or internet pages pop up promoting products you just want to see?
This is what adware is. Adware can tag along with certain tools you may download that you think are useful, only for them to later transform into adware. The main threat is that adware will annoy you with pop ups, unwanted ads being displayed on your system
Ransomware and adware generate the most revenue for hackers, so you should always protect your computer from such malware.
BGT Solution: Avoid untrustworthy websites, visit secure websites for information, and always have antimalware programs running on devices, which run on newer OS, to avoid having security loopholes.
This has gained popularity in recent years and it is like cyber piracy. This is when a hacker gains access to your confidential information and holds it for ransom until a ransom amount is paid. Usually this payment is done via Bitcoins, which cannot be traced.
An example would be the ransomware attack on UK hospitals earlier this year.
Once you’re hit with ransomware, it can get very tough trying to remove it, and most of the time, ransomware removal tools are not 100% effective. This is why prevention is better than cure.
BGT Solution: Use dedicated anti-ransomware programs, special security suites and have a secure network.
Keyloggers are stealthy malware that are used to steal confidential information like accounts and passwords. They used to be hardware keyloggers back in the day, but now software keyloggers have gained popularity.
It is very hard to detect a keylogger, and you need special software to alert you to the presence of keyloggers.
BGT Solution: Use antimalware programs like Malwarebytes to detect keylogger malware.
This is a dangerous type of malware which acts like a hacker’s toolkit. A Rootkit’s main aim is to allow a hacker to gain remote access to a computer or device infected with this type of malware.
A rootkit can allow access to other malware to get installed into the system, utilising internet traffic and more. A rootkit will have many tools included within the malware, which will be helpful for a hacker to carry out various malicious actions.
BGT Solution: You need a dedicated security scanning program to detect rootkits.
The above 8 mentioned malware types are quite common and you have probably come into contact with at least a few of them if you have an active online presence.
There is no price too high to place on your data privacy and security of personal information. A hacker can easily gain access to all your secure information, for identity theft and more, and this is the major reason why you should know all you need to know about malware and how to deal with it.
With more of the world progressing towards being online, it is time we became more educated about malware, the different types, what they do, and how to prevent your devices from getting attacked by malware.
If you are a person who spends a brief amount of time online only to browse and check mail, you firstly, should be doing so on a newer device which has in built security measures, but you should also have certain antivirus and antimalware programs running, even if they are basic ones.
If you are anything like us, and have to work online for a good amount of time, you should invest in a dedicated security suite for dealing with malware and viruses.
In the end, you don’t want to regret no shelling out a little bit when it comes to potentially losing all you have.
Antivirus and antimalware programs are important for any online user, and hopefully, knowing about the different types of malware will help you in making the best choice of antimalware tools for your computer.
Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.