Malware is an overarching term that refers to any type of malicious software. Consequently, it is designed to corrupt, exploit, steal and, at times, destroy a person’s or enterprise’s data and information.
Who Creates Malware?
Cybercriminals create malware. Therefore, these individuals could be working alone for personal reasons (stealing money, for example), or be working for a larger corrupt organization. They may use malware to:
- Trick someone into providing personal data for identity theft,
- Steal credit card credentials or other financial data,
- Control multiple computers to launch denial-of-service attacks against other networks,
- Infect computers to mine bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Where Does Malware Come From?
Most often, malware comes from email attachments, malicious illegitimate websites, torrents, and shared networks. From each source, malware can look like:
- Phishing: Cybercriminals can disguise emails with dangerous attachments and make them seem like they’re coming from a trusted, legitimate company. In fact, you may have even seen one in your own inbox, seemingly coming from Apple or Google. However, when you take a closer look at the sender’s information, it’s clear the email is fraudulent. Furthermore, the goal of this is to get victims to reveal personal information to what they think is a legitimate, trusted company.
- Malicious Websites: Cybercriminals attempt to install malicious software onto your computer, usually through pop-ups or malicious links.
- Torrents: Files shared through torrent websites (like sites where you download music for free) are generally unsafe as you never know what to expect until files are downloaded.
- Shared Networks: A malware-infected computer on the same shared network can spread onto your computer.
What Else Can Malware Do?
Malware begins corrupting data and files once installed on your PC, laptop, server, or device. Usually, its beginning actions are undetectable. However, it can soon delete files, change your browser path, or create what’s known as a C&C (Command & Control) connection to an external server. Furthermore, a C&C allows hackers to connect directly to your device without you knowing. Consequently, it can run silently, hide in the background, and steal information like your banking credentials, for example. It seems like there is an endless list of types of malware, some more dangerous than others. Let’s look at some of the most common types.
9 Most Common Types of Malware
It is not realistic to note all types of malware here, considering they account for a long list of cyber risks. However, since we’ve entered this pandemic, malicious software breaches have increased by 358%, and cybercrimes are set to cost businesses $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. That said, keep an eye out for these nine most common types of malware:
A virus usually comes as an attachment in an email, but it can also be attached to files downloaded from elsewhere. Then, the victim’s device is infected once the file is opened.
One of the most profitable and popular, ransomware installs itself onto a victim’s machine and encrypts their files. It then turns around and demands a ransom (traditional money or cryptocurrency) for the return of that data. Read our blog here for more information on ransomware.
Scareware does exactly what you’re thinking: it scares victims! Cybercriminals use alarming pop-ups to scare us into thinking our computers or smartphones have become infected. The messages might say “Warning: Your computer is infected!” or “You have a virus!” In short, the cybercriminal’s goal is to convince victims to purchase a fake application that infects the device.
Digital worms have the ability to copy themselves from machine to machine, usually by exploiting some sort of security weakness in software or infecting a system that doesn’t need an active user to function.
One of the most common forms of malware, Trojans mask themselves as harmless applications, then trick users into downloading and using them. Moreover, trojans can then steal personal data, crash a device, spy on activities, or deploy cyberattacks, once up and running.
Adware programs most often display blinking ads or pop-ups when you perform certain actions. These programs are often installed under the false promise that, by accepting, you can use a program without paying for it.
Fileless malware can infect a computer using legitimate programs. This malware leaves no malicious files to scan or processes to detect, making it challenging to remove.
Rootkits are a set of malware tools that enable an unauthorized user to gain control of a computer system without being detected.
Keyloggers are a specific type of malware that records every keystroke made by a user in order to gain fraudulent access to passwords and other confidential information.
How Can I Protect Myself from Malware?
The best prevention is good anti-malware protection software on your PCs and devices, and if possible, something at your firewall to block cyber breaches from getting into the network entirely. Additionally, being proactive is your biggest advantage. Hence, you can be confident you’ve reduced your chances of cyber risk if you and your team are educated on how to spot risks and what to avoid. Therefore, consistent detection efforts and prevention are key to protecting your business from malware. How? That’s where QuickProtect comes in.
How QuickProtect Combats Malware
At QuickProtect, we focus on providing real-time protection, blocking viruses, malware, and ransomware. Endpoint protection safeguards the user’s machine no matter where they are and includes making copies of critical data offsite and offline—data can’t be affected even if the machine is. Therefore, this solution is designed to block malicious websites, automatically patch systems, and scan for vulnerabilities! With QuickProtect, Endpoint Protection is a guaranteed service in every client’s package.
Endpoint security constantly monitors and protects the entry points of your network, whether that be laptops, desktop computers, or mobile devices connected to your server, or sources that upload to your cloud. Effective endpoint protection platforms (EPP) examine files as they come through entry points. Read our page unpacking endpoint protection for more information.
Get in touch today
Now that you’ve read this article, you can be confident that you know all about malware and which parts of your day-to-day life might present cyber risks. Get in touch with a QuickProtect expert to talk about your business’ cyber security efforts and educate your team.