Pollution of Viruses
September 4th, 2017

Pollution of Viruses, Malware and Adware on Our Computers

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“People’s computers are not getting more secure. They’re getting more infected with viruses. They’re getting more under the control of malware.” – Avi Rubin

Malware or malicious code signifies a program that is designed to covertly insert into another program with the intention to run intrusive or destructive programs, corrupt data or compromise the integrity or confidentiality of user’s data, operating system or applications.

If you think that contracting malware can only ruin your day and annoy your mood, there’s so much more that’s possible. Yes, you read that right. This unfriendly bug can destroy your files, damage the data and hand over your personal information to the criminals. What’s more? It can even take control over the device, snap your pictures and cost you high.

Let us take a careful look at each and every aspect related to malware right from its origin to various preventative measures.

 

Evolution of Malware

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  • Computer scientist and security research, Yisrael Radai used the term ‘malware’ the first time in the year 1990.
  • Before calling it malware, malicious software was the term used to refer computer viruses.
  • The first known example of malware was the Creeper virus in 1971. It was created by BBN Technologies engineer Robert Thomas.

 

Purpose of Using Malware is

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  • To steal information that’s easy to monetized, such as credit card & bank account numbers as well as login credentials
  • To ransom money in Bitcoin, such as Wannacry Ransomware
  • Spy on user’s computer for an extended period without their knowledge

 

The 7 Deadly Types of Malware

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1. Virus

Known as a malicious code, virus attaches itself to and thereby becomes part of another program. Viruses travel when the document or software they are attached to is transferred from one computer to another via file sharing, network, disk or infected email attachments.

2. Worm

Worm refers to a piece of code that goes from one computer to another without needing a host file. It exploits known vulnerabilities and spread by taking advantage of internet connections and network.

3. Trojan

It is a malicious code that masquerades similar to a legitimate benign application. Trojans open connections to a command and control server. After the connection is made, the system is known as “owned.” Here, the hacker or you can say attacker has more control over particular computer then its owner.

4. Bots

Bots are pieces of code that automate tasks and respond to instruction. These are meant to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are an attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable for intended use.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is harmful code used by cybercriminals to launch lockscreen attacks and data kidnapping. Here, the motive is charging money from the victim by notifying them that an exploit has occurred. The attacker demands payment in virtual currency to protect their identity.

6. Rootkits

It is set of software tools that hide presence in the lower layers of the operating system’s application layer, in the device basic input/output system or the operating system kernel with privileged access permissions. The criminal obtains root/admin-level access to the computer by executing the programs in the kit.

7. Spyware

Spyware is software that tracks internet activity like searches and web surfing to collect data and display advertisements. It has potential to affect the device configuration by changing the browser home page, changing the default browser or installing “add-on” components.

 

Where Does Malware Come From?

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Malware gets access to a user’s computer through internet and email. However, it also gets access through hacked websites, music files, free subscriptions, game demos, software, toolbars or anything that’s downloaded from the web on a system which lacks anti-malware software.

 

How to Recognize Malware?

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One of the most common signs that a device may be infected with malware is its slow speed. As far as other signs are concerned, they include spam, pop-ups and frequent crashes. One can check if their device is infected by using a malware scanner.

 

5 Steps to Protect PC from Malware

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There are ample ways to remove and protect malware from a computer. Users must know that there isn’t any particular way to ensure the PC is secure. However, below are given 5 very promising ways that are helpful in keeping the threat at bay.

1. Install Firewall

Firewall performs the role of a security guard. The first step towards computer security is having a firewall. To perform the job, it acts as a barrier between the PC and unauthorized program that tries to enter through the internet. For those who use computer at home, it is good to turn on the firewall permanently. This helps in knowing if there are unauthorized attempts to use the system.

2. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus is software that protects the computer from any unauthorized code or software that possesses risk or threat to the system. Even if your PC is virus free, you must install antivirus software to prevent the system from getting affected by the attack of virus.

3. Install Anti-Spyware Software

Anti-Spyware software is dedicated to combat spyware. Similar to antivirus software, it offers real time protection by scanning all the incoming information and blocking the threat after it has been detected.

4. Use Complex and Secure Passwords

Having a strong and complex password is the first line of defense in maintaining system security. This is because complex passwords are difficult to break. Users are suggested to use a password that is minimum 8 characters in length and includes a combination of numbers, letters in both upper and lower case along with a special character.

5. Check Security Settings of the Browser

Browsers have security as well as privacy settings that need to be reviewed and set to the desired level. To offer the best security, browsers nowadays tell websites not to track user’s movement, which in turn increases privacy and security.

 

Common Sense Tips to Avoid Malware

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  1. Open only trustworthy links and downloads
  2. Turn Off HTML In Emails
  3. Never open unsolicited email attachments
  4. Do not be fooled or intimidated by scare tactics
  5. Scan external drives when connecting to the computer
  6. Be careful when installing software
  7. Back up your files
  8. Never allow browser to save passwords or other information
  9. Use a VPN when working on an insecure network

Hope this information helps you with everything you ever wanted to know about malware.


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