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The most common types of MALWARE on the Internet

You curiously download free software, click on suspicious pop-up ads, download spam email attachments, or visit malicious websites through spam messages or mail. What next? This article will guide you regarding malware, attacks and how important is digital security in today's digi era.
Reading Time: 6 minutes
malware virus

Many amongst us randomly connect to open networks, share/ scan an unknown file, use external devices for copying and backup, provide confidential data for quick access, download unknown links, or open unknown/ spam emails. This is where you need to learn how to protect your network, device, and data.

Malware is malicious software that uses legitimate programs, software, and application to corrupt files and infects a computer system and servers. Due to digitization, it is now necessary to stay safe in the digital world. Learn more about how to stay safe in the digital world.

This article will help you understand how your data is hacked or leaked technically, how malware software has evolved into complicated viruses, and what measures you need to take in order to stay secure in this digital world. 

Table of Contents

Virus Vs Malware

Often both these terms are interchangeably used, whereas technically, these terms are different. Let’s understand the difference between them.

A virus is a type of malware software where it inserts its code into other programs as an act of self-replicating. It can disrupt the system’s operations and lead to data loss.  

The viruses are spread through flash drives, websites, or emails. Viruses usually attach themselves to licit to program or Files to forward the spread. Further, when the victim opens the infected file, the virus gets activated automatically. Post activation virus may modify, change system functions, encrypt and or delete files or applications.

Malicious software is software designed to intrusively destroy a computer system or network is Malware. Trojan virus, viruses, spyware, ransomware, and worms are types of Malwares.

Types of Malwares

Malware can not only infect servers, desktops, networks, but also smartphones. The five major categories of malware are:

  1. Worms
  2. Scareware
  3. Ransomware
  4. Adware and Spyware
  5. Fileless Malware
  6. Trojan virus

Worms

A standalone program that can replicate and spread to any device within a network. In 1988, the Morris worm is also known as the Internet Worm, was the first computer worm, distributed over the internet. Worms do not need host applications or programs to spread. The worm can play havoc with the operations of the device and can also lead to data loss. A worm multiplies itself and expands at an exponential rate, and infects the device within a network connection or with a downloaded file (this could also be an email attachment) masquerading as a legitimate file. 

Scareware

Scareware is a malicious act that manipulates users the need to download software or attachment. Often initiated with pop-up ads, or free software, spam email attachments, gently persuading users to download anti-virus software using social engineering. 
Scareware aims from selling useless software to the installation of damaging malware that exposes sensitive data.

Ransomware

ransomware

As the name implies, ransomware is malicious software where ransomware encrypts the information so the user cannot access it and demands a ransom in a form of bitcoin or cryptocurrency to regain access to their system.  Initially, the user clicks an unrecognizable link, usually a part of a phishing scam, and the ransomware is downloaded. Further, the sensitive information is encrypted that can be decrypted only with a mathematical key that only the attacker knows. And this way the sensitive information is encrypted. This information is decrypted once the attacker receives the payment. 

In 1989, AIDS Trojan also called PC Cyborg, was the ever Ransomware virus created by biologist Joseph L. Popp.   

In 2021, most organizations have faced ransomware attacks which severely lead to increased cost of services/ goods, create shortages, loss of money, financial loss leading to the shutdown of operations, and worse. Colonial Pipeline, Brenntag, Acer, JBS Foods, Quanta were the biggest ransomware attacks in 2021. Know more about how to gain protection against ransomware.

Adware and Spyware

Adware is an advertising-supported malware that automatically delivers advertisements. For instance, pop-up ads that appear on websites.

Spyware secretly infiltrates your device to collect personal information such as credit card details, account PINs, log-in details, etc. by recording, tracking, and monitoring your online activities.

Fileless Malware

Fileless Malware does not leave any footprint or rely on any file, it uses legitimate tools built in the system to perform the cyber-attacks. This is hard to detect and remove as it does not leverage and execute with traditional methods.

Trojan Virus

Trojans can steal your credit card details, cookies, and passwords saved in your browsers. Trojan viruses are not designed to self-replicate, they are harmful and can lead to delete, modify or block the data and affect the performance of the device. 

trojan virus

Trojan virus is a type of malware that hides true content to fool a user portraying it’s a harmless file. You can check virus presence by analyzing device performance, spam pop-up interruptions, and strange device behavior.

In 2018, after the U.S Department of Homeland Security defined Emotet, one of the most destructive and dangerous Trojan attacks.  Phishing campaigns and spam in the form of malicious emails were the main vectors of Emotet. This malware is mainly targeted at stealing financial data such as bank logins and cryptocurrencies.

The Creeper Program

Since 1949, concepts of malicious software are around us and with years the spread has widened. The first theory was created by John Von Neumann who produced work detailing self-replicating computer programs, which in reality was is the first concept but arguably the world’s first computer virus.

Studied by the discovery in the 1970s first virus was written by Bob Thomas of BBN named creeper program or creeper worm, an experimental self-replicating program, used ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) to transfer itself between computers.

Creeper was created in order to overcome the loss when the computer fails. So, another possibility was executed of moving the program from one computer to another without interfering with an ongoing operation. And this led to the creation of the creeper virus. Creeper iteratively only displayed “I’M THE CREEPER; CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”.

Creeper did not cause any harm to the computer it visited. 

Later, Roy Tomlinson re-designed the creeper, to copy itself and spread between computers rather than deleting or moving the old copy.

Ray Tomlinson re-designed the creeper virus.

John Von Neumann created the theory of a virus.

Protection against Malware

To protect large businesses’ safety, it is necessary to take secured steps. By just protecting the perimeter, businesses assume they are safe but unknowingly some advanced malware will make its way into your network. It will inevitably penetrate your network.
In these instances, your business should have a strong defense that should identify malicious attacks quickly. Multiple layers of security to safeguard your network is crucial.
Constant network scanning is required to detect and stop breaches.
Integrate and deploy advanced technologies that will continuously monitor your network invading in your circumference. In order to remove malware, your software must detect the source of malicious activities. And post identifying your software must remove malware from your network.

Malware Protection in Shared Hosting

Shared hosting for businesses is the best option to host their website online. But whatever is hosted online can be hacked and exploited. Data loss, loading time, shared IP address, security issues are various concerns in shared hosting. Choosing a reputable hosting provider, configuring directory permissions, etc can backbone you to stay at the top of shared hosting security.

Visit here to know more about Malware protection in Shared hosting.

Quick tips to Prevent Malware

Take preventive measures while handling digital data now and then because it may lead you to financial loss.

  • Verify website details before entering financial details,
  • Bank officials will never ask customers to share credentials like atm pin, passwords, card numbers, etc.,
  • Be aware of vishing calls,
  • Keep WordPress Updated,
  • Install trusted codes only,
  • Ensure development process follows security measures,
  • Remove add-ons, codes, themes you aren’t using,
  • Update add-ons, codes, themes you aren’t using,
  • Ensure third-party applications and plugins, 
  • Never download any mobile application from unknown/ unverified sources,
  • Ensure your ATM card pin is inserted by you,
  • Do not activate the share screen feature with an unknown person,
  • Making job payments to unknown job portals might lead you to job fraud. Do not fall for such scams.

Malware is transmitted when user downloads or installs an infected file, application or software. Or it can also get downloaded through spam/ malicious emails or links.

By learning about the most common types of malware on the internet and arming your connections with proper tools and techniques you can protect yourself from hackers.

Anti-virus is a Computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious file or software.

No doubt the future has more targeted attacks! Not only servers, networks, desktops, laptops, tablets but also mobile phones will be targeted. 

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Tejaswini

I’m translating complex technical ideas into concise, business-oriented content and storylines! I ensure every article we publish is EPIC. My team and I help people better understand their search.

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