May 25, 2017

Know The Different Types of Malware and Avoid Them

Just recently, a seemingly harmless string of e-mails wreaked havoc on over 200,000 computer systems in 150 countries all over the world, thus going down in history as the
biggest cybercrime attack ever recorded. Although the Wannacry ransomware was contained before it can cause further damage, there’s no guarantee that the culprits behind it will refrain from retaliating.

Photo courtesy of AM 930 The Answer

We’ve all heard of computer viruses. Ransomware, on the other hand, might have been an unfamiliar term to many. Both of them are classified as malicious software—an umbrella term for any software or program used to mess up the infected computer’s operations for various reasons. Learn to identify the different types of malware so you wouldn’t fall victim in case you encounter one:



Photo courtesy of Cat’s Wings

Perhaps the most common type of malware, a computer virus is usually attached to a program or file. It behaves like its real-life counterpart, in the sense that there needs to be a stimulus before it starts spreading—for instance, you could have downloaded an attachment from a spam e-mail that has a virus attached to it, but your computer will stay safe unless you open the malicious file.


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If you think acquiring viruses are scary, wait until you hear what a worm can do. Like viruses, worms can transfer from computer to computer through malicious file transfers, however,what sets it apart from its milder sibling is it could do so without any sort of human interaction. Worms also have the ability to replicate in your computer system, which can speed up the disruption of your computer’s operations. Make it a habit to check your system memory every now and then. If your computer’s starting to show signs of slowing down, there’s probably a worm infection on the rise.

Trojan Horse

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A Trojan Horse uses trickery and deception just like its namesake. It poses as a trustworthy program or software that starts causing damage once you run it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have the ability to replicate or infect other files unlike the first two categories. Don’t let your guard down though—trojans can give malicious third-party users access to your private system by serving as a backdoor for them to pass through.


Photo courtesy of BBC

The Wannacry Ransomware cyberattack required victims to pay 300USD to 600USD for them to regain access to their infected systems. Attackers would either resort to threats or blackmail to force their victims to hand over the ransom. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that access will be restored once the victim sends his payment.


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Spywares are the hardest to detect among all malwares. This is usually installed without the user’s knowledge or consent and is used to collect private information such as passwords and account transactions. Choose an antivirus with anti-spyware capabilities to ensure that your computer’s files are only for your eyes alone.



Photo courtesy of Cure Your System

Lastly, an ad-supported software—most commonly known as adware, is  the culprit behind the seemingly endless barrage of pop-up ads and windows that bombard the user’s desktop screen. Adwares probably look harmless compared to the other types of malware, but it sure is on the running for most annoying. It is advisable to download an ad blocker to prevent these pop-up windows from showing.

Always be cautious when downloading files and programs from illegitimate sources. Also, avoid opening e-mails that sound either straight-up sketchy or too good to be true. Better safe than sorry!

Have you been a victim of malicious software? How did you get rid of it?