Malware is a short form of malicious software and is designed specifically to exploit your system without you knowing. Types of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware. These malicious programs can range from slightly annoying to very harmful and perform a variety of different functions such as stealing, encrypting or deleting sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users’ computer activity without their permission. If your PC is attacked by a Malware, contact Malware Tech Support at 1.888.274.5606.
How Malware Works
Most people don’t realize that when they use a computer for browsing the web or checking their email, there is a lot more going on in the background. Lots of hidden programs, for the most part, are never seen. They come and go as needed and there could be dozens running at any given time. Some carry out simple tasks deep in the computers operating system, hidden from view, others are complex and obvious. They all coexist sharing the computer’s memory and constantly communicating with each other like a digital ecosystem.
Malware hackers take advantage of all these hidden programs on your computer by hiding their malicious software in and amongst them so that you don’t even notice. The first challenge for an attacker is to get the malware installed on the victim’s computer. A common ploy is to trick users into doing it themselves. One way hackers are able to do this is by simply sending you an email with a legitimate document inside. Even though the document does not look suspicious it actually contains malicious computer codes. Downloading and opening the booby-trapped document generates an error message, but what the victim doesn’t realize is that by clicking on it, it also invisibly installs malware onto the computer. Once the victim opens the document, that secret computer code inside starts to run on the computer without him even knowing it and it’s connected back to the hacker’s computer. Sophisticated malware attacks often feature a shocking behind the lines invasion where the attacker can spy or disrupt at will by infecting systems, exfiltrating sensitive data and even remotely controlling the compromised device or server.
When the performance of our hardware begins to behave unusually, our default reaction is to think that it’s a virus. Though a virus is always a possibility, more often than not the issue is a malware infection.
What are the most common forms of malware?
- Adware is software that displays unwanted advertising on a computer or mobile device usually in the form of pop-ups or they may redirect your browser to a certain website. Typically, it uses an underhanded method to either disguise itself as legitimate, or piggyback on another program to trick you into installing it on your PC, tablet, or mobile device. While it usually doesn’t cause any direct harm to the user’s device it can be very annoying
- Spyware is designed to do exactly what it sounds like, spy. It secretly observes the computer user’s activities without permission and monitors everything you do. It can track web activity, access email and can even steal your username and password
- A virus is a malicious software that when executed replicates itself by modifying files for other programs and possibly including the operating system itself
- Worms are a type of malware similar to viruses, they are self-replicating and their main objective is to spread copies of themselves from computer to computer over a network, usually causing harm by destroying data and files. A worm does not need to attach itself to a program in order to cause damage. Worms can modify and delete files an even inject additional malware onto a computer
- A Trojan, or Trojan horse, is one of the most dangerous malware types. It usually disguises itself as not suspicious or something useful in order to trick you. Once it’s on your system, the attackers behind the Trojan gain unauthorized access to the affected computer. From there, Trojans can be used to steal financial information or install threats like viruses and ransomware
- Ransomware is a form of malware that locks you out of your device and/or encrypts your files, then forces you to pay a lot of money to get them back. Ransomware has been called the cyber criminal’s weapon of choice because it demands a quick, profitable payment in hard-to-trace cryptocurrency. This type of malware is a great reason to regularly back-up the important thing on your computer
- A rootkit is a form of malware that provides the attacker with administrator privileges on the infected system. They are hard to detect due to the reason that they become active even before the systems operating system is booted up
- A keylogger is a malware that records every keystroke that a user makes on the keyboard, typically storing the gathered information and forwarding it to the attacker who is seeking sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or credit card details
- Cryptojacking is an increasingly prevalent malware usually installed by a Trojan. It allows someone else to use your computer to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Monero. Also, these attacks can result in unexpected increases in business costs due to higher electricity usage, faster device turnover and an increase in the CPU usage-based cloud cost
How to Know If a PC is Attacked by Malware?
Common signs that can indicate the presence of malware include:
- Disabled Anti-Virus
- Outgoing Email Spam
- The sluggish browser and slower processing
- Unknown frequent Pop-Up windows
- Browser navigation gets redirected
- Unwanted toolbars in the browser
- Sudden freezes and crashes
- Error or warning messages
- Missing or extra files
- Hardware and accessory problems
How to Protect Your Business from Malware Attacks
The most important step in protecting your business from malware attacks is being aware of the serious threat that cyberattacks pose to your business. Many individuals tend to undermine the seriousness and prominence of cyber threats, which is why hackers easily gain access to their systems and information. Being aware of the types of cyberthreats out there, and options to tackle them is crucial.
- Keep your computer operating systems and all software up-to-date. These updates often include ways to stop the latest malware. One of the most common ways hackers gain access to your system or software is to inject dangerous malware through unpatched holes. Regularly updating all of your business assets, from your security applications to all software and computers, is fundamental in decreasing the chances of a malware attack.
- Think twice before you click on a link or download anything. This includes email attachments that say they are coming from your friends or companies you do business with.
- Don’t trust pop up windows that ask you to download software or call an 800 number for help. Remember, free is rarely free
- Do regular backups on all the important things on your computer, that doesn’t stop malware, but it does protect what you have should you find yourself a victim of ransomware. Part of this plan includes encrypting your data so that your data cannot be translated or understood by a hacker, making it useless. This will ensure that your data is not exploited or permanently lost.
- Secure Your Network: The importance of network security cannot be overemphasized. Having a firewall in place to safeguard and monitor access to your network is crucial. Without protection, your network and data are vulnerable to unauthorized use and activity, which could allow access of dangerous malware into your system. Malware within your business’ network results in disaster, from lost data and revenue to the complete destruction of your company.
- Install Antivirus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Ransomware Software: In order to protect your business from malware attacks, you need multiple layers of security. Install antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware software, along with several other software, to protect your company. Or, hire an experienced tech support company to manage and install the software for you.
- Educate Your Employees: A large number of data attacks are simply the result of employees being unable to identify a malware attack and consequently aiding the hacker’s plans. Training your employees to recognize potential malware attacks, such as hacking scams, and malicious links is an extremely helpful way to safeguard your business and its data. So, regularly train your employees to recognize and avoid malware attacks.
Businesses have become prime targets for criminals. According to Accenture, “malware is the #1 threat to organizations, followed by web-based attacks, denial of service and malicious insiders”. Industry experts agree that malware is becoming more advanced and adaptable as it constantly evolves to circumvent our efforts to stop it. A dedicated tech support agency can help you keep your business ahead of the curve by arming your IT infrastructure with the most current, powerful anti-malware tools available. What matters when it comes to protecting your business is that you take every step possible to prevent getting malware. It is all about having layers of protection.