Malicious programs or software, referred to simply as “Malware” are everywhere these days. As more and more of our lives become enshrouded in technology from our home personal computers, mobile devices, and even such innocent looking things such as MP3 players and USB sticks, the threat of infection by malware is dramatically increasing daily.
There are several kinds of malware that currently exist and while they may vary in the form in which they are introduced to your computer or smartphone, and how they function to cause trouble the bottom line is this: Malware is dangerous.
Unfortunately for the consumer there is a huge market for malware development across the globe. For every programmer out there building good software there is often a parallel programmer- oftentimes in countries like Russia, North Korea or even India, who is at that very same time developing malicious programs. Why do they make these programs? The reasons vary as you will see in the detailed malware definitions below:
Adware is a type of malware that is advertising based and used by unscrupulous programmers along with the companies they advertise for to deliver pop-up advertisements, browser search engine redirects, and more try and deliver advertisements to unwitting computer users. While not the most destructive type of malware (in comparison to ones you will read about below!) adware slows down your computer, alters your web browsing experience, and can cause computer crashes.
This type of malicious program takes its name from what it does: robotically operate on your computer or smartphone system without your knowledge. Bots can take many shapes and forms but can cause serious operational damage to not only your system, but your network. Bots are commonly used to hijack computers for hackers who want to use your processing speed, your disk space, and more importantly your unique IP address to whatever malicious end they have in mind.
If you thought those were bad enough, keep reading. Ransomware is a growing threat to computer users around the world. Imagine you get to work and try and log into your computer but instead of your login there is a message. A message denying you access to your important work and personal files until you pay a fee (usually through an untraceable method like an international money order). Pay the money, and you get your information back; hence the name “ransom”.
Like the old story of the Trojan Horse of Troy these kinds of malicious programs work very much along the same theory. A program such as an App you want for your phone or something else which you want to download and use is disguised. You think you are downloading a simple video editing program, one that exists and is not malicious, however you landed on the wrong website. Now you have the program you wanted (the horse) however along with that program came malicious software without your knowledge: the malware in this case are the Trojan soldiers and while you cannot see this army, they will be inside your computer system wreaking havoc!
Spyware is probably one of the most dangerous types of malicious software out there. Spyware does what it says: it spies on you. Spyware can install itself in many of the ways shown above or by simply visiting the wrong website. Spyware is in a class of its own because of the damage it can cause. Some of these programs will record your web history along with keystrokes made on your computer. This information is then automatically sent by the malware to whoever made it. The provided data can open up access to your financial information, medical files, anything.
Malware: Get rid of it now
Now that you have seen some examples of the dangers of malicious programs called malware you should be worried. Most computer users are infected without even knowing it. Learn how to remove these malicious programs today and change your habits to avoid getting infected in the future.