Cybercrimes have been on the news a lot lately. Online hacking these days affect not just personal users, but also businesses. You may have heard of viruses, bugs, and phishing attacks. What do these terms actually mean?
Malware generally refers to malicious software that affect a device in multiple ways. Malware could make a device malfunction. It gets worse though. Malware is usually deployed by cyber criminals to steal data, digital currency, or to disrupt operations.
The risk is high so it’s definitely worth it to understand the difference between various types of malware. Here are brief explanations for the most common types of malware in simple terms without tech lingo:
You may already have an idea what a computer virus is. This infamous type of malware used to affect PCs a lot in the early 2000s. These days you don’t really hear about viruses, but they are still very much out there.
Computer viruses, like the real-life version, are so called because this malware can replicate itself and spread to other devices connected via a network. Computer viruses can make your devices act weird. Hackers commonly use viruses to steal data off machines. Install antivirus software to guard your devices against viruses.
A Trojan is a malware file that is disguised as a normal file. It’s a way to trick an unsuspecting user to install malware on their computer. Once installed, Trojans can steal information from a device, alter its performance, modify files, or monitor user activity. A Trojan can effectively do things like steal your passwords.
Educating employees on good practises is essential for preventing problems like Trojans getting installed on company computers. Consider a cyber security courses Sydney, especially for employees who are not familiar with IT related material.
Ransomware is a particularly egregious type of malware that can encrypt all the information on a device. That means, you won’t have access to any of the data on a device without using a password.
Cyber criminals use ransomware to encrypt computers, and then demand a ransom from victims in return for the password to decrypt. Ransomware is particularly dangerous because such malware could make data permanently inaccessible to you.
A rootkit is a sophisticated type of software that can stealthily lie in a device without detection. Rootkits allow hackers remote access to your computer, which can be used to access data or install malware. Rootkits are hard to detect. Even if you have an antivirus program installed, it might not detect a rootkit.
The only certain way to expose a rootkit is to do a manual check-up, preferably by expert cyber security services. You can, however, reduce the risk of rootkit installation by regularly updating and patching your software.
Bugs are technically minor flaws in programming code of software. Bugs may affect performance of a program, but aren’t malicious by themselves. However, a hacker could exploit a bug to gain access to device and to steal data.
When a bug is found, the software developer usually releases a patch. So make sure you update all programs to reduce the risk of bug exploits.
Spyware is as scary as it sounds. This is a type of malware that spies all activity on your computer. Hackers can use spyware to steal your passwords and personal information.
In some scenarios, spyware can access your device’s camera or microphone, which allows criminals to literally spy on you by recording audio and video in the device’s immediate surroundings.
The above are some of the most common types of malware that can affect computers. It’s important to be aware of them to protect your devices, especially if you run a business. Most malware these days come from the internet. However, be aware that malware can get installed from external devices like USB sticks too.