Malware is a broad term that includes several types of software with one shared characteristic: they are designed to cause harm in the infected system. Online criminals spread malware to carry out cyber attacks. Although nowadays malware spreads mostly through the internet, malware has been used to cause harm long before most devices were online. Before the time of the internet, malware could be spread with floppy disks, for instance.
The goals of spreading malware range from stealing people’s personal information to hijacking the victim’s computer, and more. And it is not only desktop computers that are at risk of getting infected by malware. Mobile devices, such as smartphones, are equally tempting targets for online criminals.
The biggest threats caused by malware include:
Although the technology to fight against malware gets better, online criminals, hackers and state-funded entities are always looking to develop new forms of malicious software. Here are a few common types of malware to look out for.
Computer viruses are some of the most common and well-known malicious programs. They inject malicious code into another computer program — usually through some pre-existing security vulnerability within the program. The code gets to work once the infected program is executed. This may result in corrupting and wiping out the infected device’s memory or preventing it from starting up, and many other things.
Trojan horse virus
A trojan horse virus looks like a normal file or piece of software. In reality, it is a virus in disguise, looking to corrupt your files, steal confidential and sensitive data, or spy on what you do on your device. Trojan viruses can bring with them many different types of malware.
Online criminals use ransomware to encrypt the infected device’s files so they cannot be accessed by the user. The catch is that the victim has to pay a ransom if they want to get their files back. Online criminals prefer cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, for the payment of ransom, as they are more difficult to track. There is no guarantee that you get your files back by paying the ransom. The payment only encourages criminals and can be used to fund organized crime and terrorism. Contact your local authorities instead of paying.
Spyware is used to steal different kinds of data from your device and keep track of what you do. The goal of spyware is to do its work quietly in the background without the user ever noticing its presence. So-called keyloggers are able to track what you type on your computer keyboard to steal passwords and login credentials. Spyware can also be used to record your screen to capture other information for carrying out identity theft and account takeover, for example.
Worms are especially hard to deal with as they are able to duplicate and spread from one device and network to another. To make matters worse, a worm can spread from one device to another even if the user does not do anything. The worm might be noticed only once it has spread enough to cause serious damage.
Malicious software comes in different forms and you need to know how to defend yourself against them all. Some malware can be dealt with in particular ways, but there are some things you can do to improve your overall cyber security against them all. Here’s how you can better protect yourself against malware on all of your devices.
If your computer or mobile device is no longer working as it should or you have noticed some strange changes in it, there may be a piece of malware hiding on your device. Here are seven signs that can help detect malware.
All devices start slowing down as they age and can no longer maintain the charge of their battery as they used to. You should still make sure that the signs of aging are not in fact caused by malware. If you notice any of these signs, make sure to run a virus check on your device. This is an easy process with the help of advanced security software.
You can do a lot to avoid malware infections just by being mindful of what you click and download online. However, this is not always enough, so you need a good backup.
F‑Secure Total and its advanced antivirus software allow you to fend off malware both on your mobile devices and desktop computer. With a VPN for private browsing and versatile tools for password management and identity protection, Total is your complete cyber security solution. Try F‑Secure Total for free and stay safe against malware.