Malware - Dangerous Or Not?
What is malware and what shall I do if my computer got infected?
Nowadays, everyone who has a computer and the internet access, hears more and more often the term “malware”. Also, in the description of almost any antivirus solution, we read: protection against viruses,.. malware. So, what this term means and what is the malware, about which it is spoken so much nowadays. Basically, when we make a difference what is a virus and what is a malware, or a worm and a malware, it is not completely correct.
What is a malware and what it includes
Malware, or malicious ware, is any kind of a program that is able to do any harm to the computer. Here we include viruses, worms, spyware and other types of harmful software. Malware can come in absolutely different forms and from different sources. The most famous samples of malware are viruses, Trojans, spyware and many many others.
And to get to know how to treat them, you need to know first what they are and how it is possible to detect them.
A virus is a malware, that gets access to your system, and then, it acts depending on its kind and the purpose of the developer. It may replicate itself so, that it practically eats up all computer memory, it can damage files, modify them. It can disturb some programs and even cause the system crash. There were cases when a virus caused even the hardware crash.
Resident viruses – they reside in the RAM memory and damage files and programs.
Overwrite viruses – they modify the files which they infect. All you can do here is to completely remove the file.
Direct action viruses – they do not act through files or software. Such kind of viruses replicate itself. And then, when their time comes, and it happens mostly when you reboot the system, they take a particular action, which can be any one.
File infector – as we can guess even from the name, this kinds of viruses infects the files, mostly software. And then, when the infected program starts, the virus can perform its adverse activity.
Boot viruses – they infect the boot sector, so the computer cannot reboot.
There are some more kinds of viruses, but here we mentioned only those that are more common. As you possibly have noticed, the list doesn’t look very simple. And right, passed those times when viruses were mostly created by students just for fun. Nowadays, virus development is a real industry where huge sums of money turn around. You can sell or buy a virus online, and you can buy and sell a solution to it. They appear in thousands, they are more damaging and it is super difficult to fight them off, and the more you would pay for such a super virus.
Moreover, cybercriminals sell not only viruses, but also stolen information. You shall agree, that some financial information, like numbers of credit cards and passwords to online banking may be really valuable.
You can guess from the name, that this malware is disguised as a legitimate and a safe program. That is why it is called a Trojan, actually. Cybercriminals use different tricks, even the most incredible, to make you download the Trojan. And then, the story starts. It can spy on your activities, track your transactions, steal your data, create backdoors.
There are following types of Trojans:
- Those that copy data
- Those that delete data
- Those that block data
- Those that modify data
- Those that do not let your system work properly
A good news is that they cannot replicate themselves. But the bad one is that it is not easy to detect them. They may stay in your system for ages, performing their malicious activities.
And now, the most interesting information about these programs. As you will see, they can do, and they do, many things, some of which seem to be taken from a science fiction movie.
1. Backdoor creation - Trojans are able to create so-called backdoors, through which a criminal can get access to the system and do whatever he wants, even control the computer completely. It is not new, that entire networks can be treated like this and be used for any purposes.
2. Exploits – those are programs that contain a special code, with which a cybercriminal can use a vulnerability in the system.
3. Rootkit – their purpose is to hide some processes that are running in the system. Many IT specialists do not consider them as malicious, but the sad fact is that rootkits help malicious programs to stay undetected and perform their damaging activities for quite a long time.
4. Bankers – they steal your banking information.
5. Downloaders – they download new components of a malware or a malware.
6. Droppers – they are used to download Trojans and different malware into the system.
7. FakeAV – they simulate the activity of an antivirus and promise the deletion of super dangerous viruses if you pay, of course, those super dangerous viruses have never visited your system.
8. Ransom – they block some files, usually those, which are of the upmost importance, and the cybercriminal, who is managing the ransomware, promises to give you the password to get access to data only if you pay. Of course, even if you pay, and not once, nobody would give you any password. Moreover, it is in most cases impossible to access the damaged data at all, more easy it is to reinstall the system completely and renew the data that you may need.
And again, there are many more of them, here are given only the most common and that is why the most damaging. Below we will see what you shall do to fight them off and if they still managed to infect the computer, how to remove them efficiently and without causing a damage to your PC.
Worms are a kind of malicious programs that replicate themselves, hence, taking up more memory and disturbing the computer functioning. There are several kinds of worms, such as:
• Worms sent via mail – they come in a mail attachment. Once you click it, the worm gets into the system and starts its activity.
• Instant messaging worms – these worms infect the system through messengers, such as skype, for example.
• Internet worm – it scans the network in search for unprotected machines. And by the way, the most dangerous of them have been the internet worms.
• File-sharing – these worms are very popular in sharing networks. They are hiding under very attractive and innocent names, but they start their activity after you share it. The biggest their danger is that they come from your contacts, mostly friends, that is why it is very difficult to suspect an infection.
Worms are considered not as bad as viruses or Trojans, BUT:
1 . they replicate themselves very fats, that is why, they take up more and more memory and influence on the computer performance in a negative way.
2 . they are often used for creating a backdoor, and this is already very dangerous, as any malware then can be installed by application of this backdoor.
There are many types of malicious programs, these are just those that we encounter more often. That is why, the internet doesn’t seem to be so safe anymore. But there are always ways to protect your system and your computer from these unwished visitors. Just follow these simple steps to be sure, that your information and your computer aren’t endangered:
5 steps to protect your computer from malware
1. First of all, be cautious. You know that many malicious programs come in a mail or in the links, that are sent with the messages. Even if you receive a mail, even from an authorised contact, say, from your friend, colleague or anybody trusted, with a strange content, or just with a link and a short sentence, inviting to click on it, do not check even the mail. Most likely, the mailbox of that person got a virus, and now the virus is trying to spread its activity on your computer, too. Do not enter your login data in websites, if you aren’t completely sure, that it is safe. And it is not important which company is asking for that, this information shall be strictly confidential.
2. Install a proven antivirus and update it as often as needed. Customize it to allow only safe downloads and to protect your system form any suspicious activity.
3. Do not disable the firewall.
4. Nowadays, we can say, that antivirus protection is only one protection layer. The second one, which shall protect your computer completely is the malware protection. Antimalware solution is usually included in the advanced antivirus tools, but better to make sure that you have it, and it works. Moreover, some security software is able to detect the newest malware, which haven’t been reported anywhere. For that, some features are used. For example, if the program is trying to hide itself in the system, most likely, it is a malware and you will be notified about it immediately.
5. Perform scanning by at least two antivirus products, as malware I very sophisticated nowadays and can hide from any antivirus software. Though, if you do it with at least two antiviruses, you have higher chances, that your system will stay healthy.
This was about the protection. But what to do, if you suspect, that a malware is already there, if you see, that your computer doesn’t work properly or you get strange messages and popup windows? You shall scan the system to make sure that there is no malware in it, and if you still find some strange programs, you shall remove them. Completely. From everywhere. Otherwise, they will replicate themselves and your system will suffer again.
The most efficient protection software for now are:
Norton Security – one of the leaders in antivirus industry.
Bitdefender Total Security for multiple devices – will protect not only your computer, but all devices with the internet access.
Kasperski internet security for multiple devices – protects from threats and eliminates the consequences of their activities.
F-Secure SAFE – protects from viruses and malware.
McAfee – offers multiple solutions for all cases of life.
By selecting an antivirus or an antimalware solution, you shall remember, that it shall work in real tie mode. It means, all attempts to infect your system shall be detected and stopped before the malware gets into the system. Otherwise, the solution is not of much help. The other thing is that it shall be updated as often as the developer recommends to do. Best of all is to set up the software for automatic updates, and not to reschedule them. Only then you can rely on the product. And the product shall be handy. It means, it shall be easy to install and to use. Sometimes, you need to make a decision very fats, and on that will depend, whether your computer will be infected or not. That is why, the software shall be easy for a user, but efficient enough not only to detect but also to remove any kind of malware.