What is Malware?
Security is the prime concern for every business. With the increase in online business, people tend to save their crucial business-related information at any cost. Most companies implement various security measures to protect the identity and important information of the users. Even with the online banking system and online transaction process, it is a necessity to have strong security measures to ensure complete data and system safety.
There are various types of malware or virus present in the industry that can impact the working and performance of your system in any way. Therefore, it becomes important to understand the types of malware present, what they do, and what part of the system they impact. The term ‘malware’ is derived from the words ‘malicious’ and ‘software’.
In this article, we will focus on what is malware, its various types, which type of industry is impacted the most, why cybercriminals use it, how do you know that your system is affected, and how you can protect the system against malware programs.
What is Malware?
Malware is malicious software that is meant to harm the computer system. It can be a virus, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and others. Usually, cybercriminals use such malware to attack a specific system on the network and try to access its information to harm the performance of that system. Hackers use the Internet to spread malware, they either spam your emails with infected attachments or website links containing viruses.
Both private or personal systems are at risk from malware and can impact a business of any size. Therefore, you must keep your system updated and implement regular and frequent checks on the Internet content and emails to avoid the attack of malware on your system.
Well, malware and attackers are not always successful as many companies ensure complete security strategies are implemented to avoid being affected by malware. Also, they make sure to keep their attack surface as minimal as possible for the efficient working of the company without being compromised.
Types of Malware
Today, as technology has evolved, the ways to harm the systems are also increasing. Attackers are also becoming tech-savvy and using advanced methods to attack any system for accessing its crucial data over the network. They use various types of malware to impact the working of any system they want. Here, we have mentioned various malware types that are very commonly used.
This malware enters into the system as a harmless file or application to perform harmful tasks. Different types of trojans perform different tasks like deleting any specific file of the system, downloading malicious code on the system, and others. It will eventually impact the performance of your system.
It is also known as the crypto trojan which will encrypt the data on a targeted system that can only be accessed by providing the right password. The password will not be provided by the hackers to the victim until they pay the ransom amount. It is considered to be the most dangerous malware of all time. Many companies have gone through such a situation where they had to pay a huge amount to hackers just for unblocking their important files. Some of the variants of ransomware that were used are WannaCry and Petya.
3. Computer worm
It is a computer program that will automatically propagate to the infected system and on the connected network and then perform harmful functions on the specified system. They perform tasks like deleting files, causing malfunction, and damaging the underlying hardware or software. It may also flood your system with irrelevant code. The most possible way of spreading this malware is through infected USB drives, email attachments, or virus-infected websites.
4. Computer virus
As a computer worm which is a standalone program affecting a system, the computer virus requires human interaction to spread. It can impact the existing file system and the boot sectors with the undesired code and content. They perform the same task as the computer worms. Apart from this, they will impact the performance of the system and slow down their performance, causing long-term damage to the system.
This type of malware is the hidden vulnerability in the program code that will impact the protection mechanism of the system and try to gain access to the login credentials for important data stored on the system. Hackers use intelligence services for including these backdoors within the program to access sensitive information. For example, in the past, Cisco networks were affected by the backdoors for getting the US secret service details.
Adware is unwanted programs or applications that will display the advertisements on the system or redirect a browser to dubious websites. This malware can get into the system by downloading a malicious program from the Internet or the infected websites. Once they enter your system, it takes a lot of effort to remove them from the system as they are deeply embedded into the system. Once you are attacked by adware, you can notice unwanted toolbars on your browser or unnecessary extensions.
Such malware spies on the infected systems. They target valuable user details like passwords and other sensitive information. This type of malware can be entered via malicious channels like spam emails attachments, downloading software, and others.
Such malware is the novel one and is introduced by the cybercriminals to mine digital currencies like bitcoin and others. This is done using the computing power of the infected system and the user is not aware of this. Cryptominers are hidden like a code on the website which is usually introduced by cybercriminals via security vulnerabilities.
Types of Industries Affected by Malware
For malware, there is no difference between industries and companies. They can attack anyone having the crucial data and the information that is sought by hackers. Attackers spread malware by any means or choose the system’s weakest entry point to attack that system and other systems that are connected to the network. Not only private companies, but even government organizations are also not safe from malware.
But if the hackers have a specific strategy for a specific type of company to attack, they have a specific entry point and put all their efforts into doing so. They analyze the target’s machine and look for the entry and make a very real scenario to enter and then perform the desired tasks. These hackers are not normal people but they have a great knowledge of complete networking and system operation.
Thus to prevent such attacks, cybercrime investigation takes place that will help in finding the source of the attack, and based on evidence they identify the culprit.
Why do Cybercriminals Use Malware?
By using malware, cybercriminals have access to all types of malicious software along with the viruses and they use it to perform various evil tasks such as:
- To trick a victim into providing their personal data for identity theft.
- To get the consumer’s credit card data or other financial data.
- To take control of multiple computers for launching denial-of-service attacks against other networks.
- To infect the computers and use them to get bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
How to Check if the System has been Infected with Malware?
Below are some signs that will indicate that your system has been compromised.
- Regular slow performance of the system.
- Unnecessary browser redirects, you will be redirected to the website or page that you do not intend to visit.
- Various warnings like buying some software or antivirus.
- Challenging to shut down or start your system.
- Regular and frequent ad pop-ups.
If you are experiencing such undesired functions on your system then you might have a virus on your system that is impacting your system’s performance and taking up most of the system’s resources making it difficult to work. If you are getting frequent warnings then the likelihood of the malware is high. You must take some necessary actions to remove it completely.
How to Fight against Malware?
You can implement various security strategies to protect your system from the attack of malware. We have mentioned the best security practices that will prevent the malware from affecting your system.
1. Regular backups
If your company tends to store crucial information of the users then you must protect it from malware attacks or other security breaches. You must ensure to create a backup at various locations to achieve geo-redundancy. It not only protects your data against malware but from the physical loss of the system. Avoiding the physical space, you can even store your data on the cloud for more security and accessibility.
2. Malware scanners
You can implement the malware scanners to check any software for the possible threats or the included malware so that you can avoid downloading or running it on your system. Make sure you check for all the available software that you are going to use. These tools will help in identifying the malicious program or code that is attached to the software being downloaded.
3. Having firewall
If you install the right firewall on your system then the incoming traffic to your system will get filtered and you will be asked if you want this type of message or warning to be displayed on your system. You can set your security policies and define some rules that will help you to filter your data.
4. Checking email attachments
Make sure that you do not open any email or download its content without checking it. If the email is in the spam folder and does not consider you then you should delete it without opening it. Most spam emails come with harmful attachments that will drop malware to your system without being noticed and impact the performance of your system.
5. Software maintenance
Make sure that you keep your software up to date with frequent updates. As the older versions are more prone to get infected and then the virus will propagate itself to other parts of the computer slowing down the performance. Updating systems make sure that these critical vulnerabilities are avoided.
Cybercriminals make use of malware to attack your system, affect it, and then try to gain access to the system’s crucial data for their profit. You can avoid such unwanted programs by placing correct security strategies. There are various types of malware out there that are designed to perform different and defined tasks. So you need to understand their nature, behavior, and in what way they are affecting your system before eliminating them from your system.