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Friday, 08 July 2022 17:58

What is Malware? (Definition, Types & How to Stay Protected)

As technology progresses, computer systems need to face various threats amongst which malware stands as the most common.

That’s why in the following article we are going to cover:

- What malware is,

- The different types of malware, and

- How to protect yourself from malware.

To begin with, let’s give a concise description of what malware is.

What is Malware?

Malware is used as an umbrella term to describe any kind of malicious software aiming at acquiring unauthorised access to your computer system and interfering with its functions.

Through this kind of activity a malware attack can lead to cyber spyring, temporary or permanent loss of access to your files and generalised data breach.

Some “route” examples that a malware uses to intrude your system could be:

- spam mail or texts,

- deceptive websites,

- software/program downloading, or

 

- connection to public insecure networks.

Therefore, if you come across any of the above there is a possibility of you noticing suspicious malfunctions in your system or device. These exact malfunctions constitute signs that you have probably been attacked by malware.

A classic sign of malware presence in your computer system could be unauthorised sudden shut-downs of your system or inexplicable delays while using it.

Simultaneously, you may notice the disappearance of some of your files without you having made any related action.

Continuous redirections from a website to another or disturbing pop-up ads should also be something you need to be careful about, as they may result from a malware attack in case you haven’t provided your consent.

However, it is also common for a malware to maintain its presence in your system “silently” without you noticing any malfunction at all.

At this point, having talked about what malware is and how it works, it would be useful to check some of its most frequent types.

4 Common Types of Malware to Know

More specifically, each type differs from the other in the way it interferes with your IT system.

Type #1: Viruses

The most known form of malware is viruses. A virus inserts itself to a programme or application and develops its action when the programme or application is running. 

The way a virus usually harms your system is by stealing the control over your data and blocking your access to specific actions through a distrurbed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Nonetheless, it can also lead to a ransomware attack - which we’ll be mentioning further below.

Type #2: Bots

Bots may also function as malware. Generally, a bot is a software executing automated repetitive tasks, as are for example search engines or Apple’s Siri. 

When used for malicious purposes, a bot infects your computer aiming at taking advantage of these automated tasks to spread itself across other users’ systems.

Indicatively, this spread can get implemented through a DDoS attack and the mailing of spam messages. As a result, the bot creates a group of interconnected computer systems, also known as a botnet.

A botnet calls back to a command and control centre which can then manipulate all computer systems linked to it and lead to large-scale cybersecurity breach in all ways.

Type #3: Spyware

As indicated by its name, spyware is a “behind-the-curtain” software that monitors your activity so as to collect exploitable information.

In this way, it gains access to data, such as private messages, passwords and payment information.

Type #4: Ransomware

Similar to the threat a virus or a botnet may pose, ransomware uses encryption to disable your access to some or all data of your computer system. Its special feature, though, is found in the fact that it gives the victim the option to regain that access by paying a certain ransom.

In practice, a ransomware attack imitates the real life situation of hostage taking and bargaining may take place. Unfortunately, the payment of ransom cannot guarantee the decryption of your data and, consequently, you may find yourselves at both a financial and data loss.

How to Stay Protected from Malware Threats

As the threats of the above types of malware seem overt, it would be useful to examine possible ways to avoid them.

At first glance, personal research is key. Familiarising yourself with what malware is and the types of malware may help you realise whether you have been exposed to malware and what possibilities of exposure there might be in the future.

Consequently, it may help you evaluate your past, present and future status of IT security and decide the weaknesses you would like to cover.

Having gone through this process, choosing the right tool for your cybersecurity comes next.

In this context, Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection constitutes one of the leading computer protection tools. More specifically, it uses a multi-layered defence model including,

- Profiling prevention,

- Malicious host blocking,

- Exploit protection, and

- Heuristic and behavioural malware protection technologies.

 

All the above protect you against both known and unknown kinds of malware, ransomware and zero-hour threats, allowing you to make use of your IT systems safely!

 

The installation of an anti-malware product and the simultaneous training of your team on its utilisation can guarantee long-term cybersecurity and advance your company’s performance.

Now Over to You

In conclusion, the chaotic situation that a malware attack may cause to your systems can be avoided with the aid of the right experts.

Therefore, if you are interested in getting more information on how specialised tools, such as Malwarebytes, can adjust to your needs and benefit your work, don’t hesitate to contact us to get the support you need!

 

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