What Is Malware And How To Protect Against It

Malware Protection
Malware Protection

Malware is an umbrella term for all sorts of malicious software designed to cause harm or damage to a personal computer, server, company, or client network. Many types of Malware exist today, and they are worms, viruses, trojans, spyware, rogue software, ransomware, wiper, etc. Malware is short for malicious software. You might have heard of Malware infecting millions of users’ personal devices or a corporate network sometimes.

You might wonder how these cybercriminals plan such large-scale attacks globally. They succeed in making the victim install rogue software, entice him to click on a link, or even fool them to download attachments in an email that seems to be from a legit source. Once the victim clicks a link or downloads such attachments, or even opening a rogue software means transferring their control to the hands of these cybercriminals who can take away sensitive data or lock up these devices and demand ransom.

Attackers have profited from these Malware attacks. Because using Malware for performing data theft, is quite effective and easier to gain access than conventional methods. It’s becoming difficult to detect these attacks, as cybercriminals mix old and new styles and ways of attack. This approach to infecting malicious software makes it sophisticated and challenging to trace back.

According to a survey, there are almost 230,000 new Malware samples that are infecting globally. Each of these samples presents a unique and sophisticated way of getting into the victim’s device or server. Are you overwhelmed? You may question the solution to this problem. The solutions begin with awareness. If you are aspiring for a career in Ethical Hacking, take a look at Ethical Hacking training. Now, let’s understand the various types of Malware circulating around the world and how to protect against it?

Different types of Malware:

Virus:
It is a type of Malware which once initiated, will make identical copies in many folders. A virus will insert its own code and spread rapidly across the system. The Virus will steal information or data and use it for financial gain or data theft, and could also be used for spamming or locking the entire system down or making it slow to use.

Trojan:
The Trojan is a unique creation wherein it poses as legit software and uses that to install in the victim’s computer. It’s malicious software that has masked itself as legit software. This Trojan could be a game, anti-virus, an update, etc. This aspect makes Trojan difficult to detect and avoid downloading or opening it. Once installed, it steals sensitive data from the background, installs a backdoor, or even conducts harmful actions.

Worm:
Worms are similar to viruses but are different. A Virus will make identical copies from folder to folder, whereas a worm won’t make such a public appearance; rather, it will infect the machine silently by making identical copies without the victim’s knowledge. Worms will try to cause maximum damage to devices and system resources. Worms are the toughest challenge in the cybersecurity world.

Ransomware:
As the name suggests, once a system or device gets infected with this Malware, it asks for a fixed ransom. Only after its payment, the device or the system unlocks or decrypts data. It is becoming the favorite choice for cyber criminals according to a survey Ransomware damage amounts to USD 8 billion worldwide. It infects the system or device when the victim clicks on a link in an email or downloading or opening a malicious attachment.

Adware:
It is the least damaging Malware out of all on this list, as it doesn’t steal user data. Its sole purpose is to frustrate users with ads. If downloaded, they will stay in the system and pester users with different kinds of ads.

Spyware:
It’s a spying software designed to spy and secretly monitor the digital activities of the user. The range of activities it will capture are passwords, browsing activity, bank and credit card credentials, etc.

Botnet:
Bots are software designed to automate various tasks. There are internet bots that crawl over the sites to classify and separate millions of web pages. And there are Botnets which are Malware. Now, these Bots are infected with malicious codes or software that is designed to cause damage or harm to the victim’s device or computer without their knowledge. Attackers spread these malicious Bots across and then create a controlled network of these infected devices for performing phishing campaigns, spamming activities, or even for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

How to protect our systems from Malware?

Several ways could be used as a preliminary defense against these Malware attacks. I will share some tips in protecting you from becoming a victim of a Malware attack. Make sure these are implemented and you could be confident in protecting your systems from Malware attacks.

Install Anti-Virus software
One of the easiest and effective ways is to install Anti-Virus for protecting devices and systems from Malware. This software will scan your entire device to detect and remove Malware if present. Make sure to update this software regularly to keep you safe from new variants of Malware.

Ensure all software stay updated in your system
Using outdated software is a welcome door to new Malware. So to avoid such scenarios make sure to keep updating all software that will add additional security patches.

Buy Apps from a trustworthy source.
If you are buying apps, make sure that the source is trustworthy and legit. For example, Apple Store, Google Play Store, etc. Because these companies pay millions to make their platform Malware-free to maintain their reputation and provide a secure environment for their customers.

Avoid clicking on Suspicious links.
If you see any link you are not familiar with, the best way is to avoid it. Do not click on it and enter your personal information. It may be a phishing attempt.

Install Firewall
A firewall gives a significant boost to your protection. It just blocks unauthorized access for Malware to and from a network. It becomes the first layer of your defense if you have an Antivirus installed.

Create a habit for Backing-up data
If you do not have a habit of backing data up, then create one. So, even after implementing all security solutions, if you become a victim of a cyberattack and lose control over your data, you can retrieve all that data.

Summing up:

Always remember, the Internet is a door of opportunity as well as an easy door to Malware. Ensure you have implemented all security measures and backed up data. Be Aware! Be Alert!

Also See: Malware Analysis

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