Malware is a catch-all term for any type of bad software designed to harm or take advantage of any programmable device, service, or network. Cybercriminals usually use it to take data that they can use as leverage against their victims for their own financial gains. The stolen data can range from financial, healthcare records, to personal emails and passwords.
Why Do Hackers Use Malware?
There are many reasons hackers use malware. Malware encompasses all types of terrible software, including viruses. Some of the reasons hackers use malware are below:
- They trick victims into giving out their personal info for identity theft.
- They steal consumer credit data or other financial information
- They take control of multiple computers to launch denial-of-service attacks against other networks
- They also infect computers so they can use them to mine bitcoins and other kinds of cryptocurrencies
Different Types of Malware
Unfortunately, there are a lot of different kinds of malware out there being used. But understanding the different kinds of malware is the first step in making sure all data is safe and secure.
- Viruses - A virus usually comes as an attachment in an email that holds a virus payload, or the part of the malware that performs the evil action. Once the victim opens the attachment, it is game over.
- Ransomware - This malware downloads itself onto the victim’s machine, encrypts their files, and then turns around and demands a ransom to return that data to the victim.
- Spyware - This is a malware that is installed onto a device, usually without the victim’s knowledge, that captures and transmits personal information or internet search patterns to the user. This enables the user to monitor and watch all forms of communications happening on that particular device.
- Trojan - This malware acts like harmless applications, tricking users into downloading and using them. Once Trojans are up and running, they can steal personal data, crash a device, spy on activities, or even launch an attack.
How to Protect Your System from Malware
While it is intimidating and worrisome that there are so many different forms of malware out there. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to protect yourself from being attacked as well.
- Never click on pop-ups or ads. You are just asking for malware if you click on those. Simply click the “X” and move on with what you were doing.
- Contact your tech guy. They will be able to inform you on many ways to protect your computer, from antivirus to reverse engineering software that will take apart the malware for a better understanding of how it works so you do not get it again. A tech person can be your best friend when it comes to taking down malware.
In conclusion, knowing what malware is and how to prevent it is the best thing you can do to make sure you and all of your private information is protected to the best of your ability. Always be safe!