If you are someone who is diligent to check any invaders in your system, then you might have come across some viruses, Trojans, worm, spyware, and drive-by download – all of them are malware. Many PC users regard all malicious software as nothing but computer menace. Do you know that they are different from each other, even though they are all malicious software?
The Malicious Software and its Name
The term malware is coined from the two words, malicious and software. It is a term used to describe program codes that are intrusive and hostile in nature. Anything that is created to carry out malicious operations can be called malicious software.
Some malicious software attacks your files and computer programs, and there are others that target the user’s confidential information. All of them are infections that can eventually harm the system or the computer in different ways. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of malicious software, and each has a different behavior that separates them from each other.
Delivery or Infection Methods
When a developer of a malicious software remover tries to create software that will put an end to the menacing moments of particular malicious software, their main focus is to find out how it got to your system or computer. Another concern is how it continues to invade the system. They need to collect data in order to come up with a viable solution to the problem.
The different computer menaces have different delivery methods. It is easy to kill the malicious software that invaded your computer if you can identify its category. You will be able to choose the best solution that will put an end to the malicious software’s invasion once you have identified the category in which it belongs.
The Virus Category
Before, any bad software is known as virus; today the umbrella term is “malicious software,” and the virus is just one of its categories. Like a real virus, the malicious software under this category replicates itself in the computer memory. It is often unknowingly initiated by the user. The virus not only replicates itself, but may also have malicious codes that can bring devastating effects on your files, master boot records, or operating system. When this happens, your computer usually starts slow or might not even boot at all.
There are different computer viruses. Some can affect the system so much that it can render it unusable. There are also some that were created just to bring annoyance to the user. Disabling the task manager or wallpaper is one of the usual tactics that the creators do to annoy the users.
A virus always needs a human’s help to initiate itself. Most viruses attach themselves to executable .exe files. The virus knows that the user will run the .exe file, and that’s all it’s waiting for to happen so it can proceed with infecting the computer.
Unfortunately, most viruses are unknowingly set off by the user when he clicks on the .exe file. It is important to install and run programs from a trusted site or source.
The Worm Category
Worms are practically evolved computer viruses. They are another self-replicating program, and spread or cover a larger area as compared to a computer virus. They do not attach themselves onto a .exe file.
Worms are generally little set of codes or program that run in your system’s background. Unlike a virus, they do not need human action to carry out its invasion plan. This makes them more dangerous than the average computer virus.
Worms always looks for loopholes in the network that can help it replicate from computer to computer. The most typical way of incursion is through emails or IM attachments.
Since the infection happens via network, a dependable firewall and anti-virus can fend off worms’ invasion. This also means that it is wise to take necessary precautions when downloading an email attachment or clicking the shared links of friends. If you are not 100% sure it’s safe, then don’t download the attachment or click on the link that your friend has shared.
The Trojan Category
The name Trojan came from the fabled Trojan Horse in the Greek Mythology. In the story, a gigantic horse made of wood was sent as gift to the city of Troy. The people of Troy welcomed the gift and willingly let the giant wooden horse into their city. They did not suspect anything, but the truth is their enemies, the Greeks, are inside the wooden horse waiting for the right time to strike. When the opportunity finally arrived, the Greeks did not hesitate to attack – they emerged victorious.
In the same manner, the Trojan program shows certain things in the foreground that appears useful, but the real deal is that the program is stealing valuable user information and/or bringing harm to the user’s computer. What appears to be good at first will turn out bad in the end.
The most typical way of welcoming a Trojan horse into your computer system is downloading free music, malicious software, cracks, keys, and others from an unknown source. The best way to avoid Trojan is to stay away from suspicious baits (like free downloads) or visit only the sites or sources that can be trusted.
The Drive-by Download Category
This category is perhaps the most common way to infect your computer with something spiteful. This usually happens when you visit a nasty web page. It seeks your browser’s weakness and infects your system.
You can safeguard your computer by avoiding suspicious web page. It also helps to have a reliable firewall.
The Malware Actions
When malicious software successfully entered your computer, it can do several things. There are times when its only goal is replicate itself without causing any harm. There are also times when it does deplorable things.
Here are the things that malicious software can do.
Adware is something that cannot be considered as a malicious software – it is harmless, but could be annoying. It uses some form of advertising delivery system. Sometimes they track or reveal more information regarding your identity and personal data. Most of the time, you agree to the adware’s request to track you when you install the software that comes with it. The good thing about it is that you can uninstall the software anytime you wish.
This is a software that acts like a real spy – monitors your system and reveals or sells your personal information to interested parties. It can track the websites you visit, and it can be absurdly invasive the moment it monitors every move you make with your keyboard and mouse. It can collect your credit card number, important files, passwords, and other personal data.
This has become amazingly popular for internet scumbags to generate money. This malicious software has the ability to alter your system, and make it difficult for you to access it. The victims usually see a message on the screen demanding for a sort of payment to bring their system back to normal.
This software appears to be legit. It usually offers free online system check. Once you agree, it will begin checking your system. Upon checking, it usually informs the user that the system is infected, would crash, and other things that could scare the user and lure her into buying one of their services. The people behind the rogue software usually claim that they would be able to fix everything for a price.
Some of the Famous Computer Menace
Don’t take these malicious software for granted. They mean serious business. The infamous ILOVEYOU, which has been transmitted via email, cost businesses around the world some $5.5 billion in damage. It completely disrupted the flow of business all around the world, and it took quite some time before everything went back to normal.
The Code Red was able to deface 359,000 websites. The SQL Slammer has able to slow down the internet for a short period of time, and in the business world that means a lot. The Blaster forced the PC to reboot again and again, causing delay and frustrations.
The malicious software could be used in so many nasty ways. It is a good thing that in this day and age there are a lot of software that can help protect you from such invasion. It is important to have a reliable firewall, and updated anti-virus software to help you defend your computer system against the invaders.
Remember that not all offers that you find on the net are legit. Not all email attachments are safe, especially if you don’t know where they came from. Not all the links that your friends share are safe to click. There are lots of websites that are waiting for you to fall victim, and get trapped under the claws of the internet criminals.
Always be mindful of the things that could lead malicious software into your system. Protect your system properly and never transact on or visit malicious web pages.