8 Types of Malware & What They Do

Malware can be a threat to your company, both in terms of lost productivity and financial losses. It can even bring your business operations to a stop. Malware is malicious software distributed to inflict harm. It can steal data from tablets, computers, computer systems, phones, networks, and more. In the worst case, the hacker gets complete control of the device. There are many kinds of malware, but they fall into eight broad categories.

Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their efforts. This article is a brief introduction to the eight types and what they do, followed by a section on how to protect yourself.

1. Adware

Adware most commonly manifests as ads appearing on your computer out of nowhere. They do this to generate earnings for the creator of the ad. It can be related to spyware, usually appearing as an ad embedded in a program or software or in the form of a pop-up ad.

2. Spyware

This leads us to spyware, a type of malware that enables cybercriminals to spy on users, as the name would suggest. They get data like login details, browsing history, and other internet activity. All kinds of sensitive data can be stolen through spyware, including card payment information, payment details, and more. Spyware is not hard to remove, but it’s dangerous when left on your device indefinitely.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is used by hackers to place a device or computer under their control in exchange for ransom. Hackers will infiltrate the device and lock the user out pending payment. Some of them threaten to sell data on the dark web or release it publicly unless the user pays the ransom asked of them.

The types of ransomware fall in two categories: crypto and locker ransomware. Crypto ransomware limits access to certain data and files on the computer or device. Locker ransomware blocks all access to the device or computer.

4. Viruses

When someone thinks of malware, viruses are probably the first thing that comes to mind. This type of malware replicates itself, spreading to other programs, networks, or devices. It can compromise your programs, apps, and documents instantly. What’s more, you can pick up a virus very easily. It can happen by downloading an app or file or even doing something as banal as a site visit.

5. Trojan Horse

Trojan horse attacks are extremely common. This type of malware is disguised as something attractive, like a great offer, a special gift, or a free app for downloading. The malware can steal any data once it infiltrates the network. In many cases, Trojan horses double as spyware, giving cybercriminals insight into your activity.

6. Worm

Worms are like viruses in many ways, especially in that they can spread to other systems and devices by replicating themselves. Worms can replicate and spread on their own, which makes them more destructive than your average virus, which has to attach to a program. What’s more, viruses require users to take action, while worms don’t. This makes worms potentially far more damaging.

7. Malvertising

Malvertising is where a normal ad is infiltrated with malware and delivered to a device or computer. The device is affected when the user clicks on the ad with you and the advertiser none the wiser.

8. Bots

Bots are hybrids between two types of malware, like adware and spyware. The ultimate goal of a bot is to make infected entities elements of a larger network that a botnet controls. Botnets are “leased” to other cybercriminals after they take control of a group of computers. Bots do not interact when performing their automated tasks. Hackers can use botnets to launch massive attacks, and the owner of the computer or device has no idea of their role in them. One example is 2018’s distributed denial of service attack, which cut people’s internet connections in many states.

How to Protect Yourself from Malware

If you have a business, educate your staff about safe technology practices. In many cases, malware issues come from attacks that get people to run a program, download a file, or click on a link. You can minimize risk to yourself and your company by convincing your staff to avoid downloading random files or clicking on suspicious links. In addition, you’ll want to do a search for people online if ever you start doing business with a new web company. It’s a good idea to do a background check on the company and the owners if their information is available. You never know if they’re legitimate or not.

Take advantage of technological advances to monitor for signs of threats and compromises. Buy, use, and regularly update anti-spyware and anti-malware products. This software will neutralize anything that can present a risk to your documents, files, or systems. Establish procedures to get rid of malware and stop hackers from accessing your systems again.

Install Spam Filters

To eliminate the risk of infected files across computers and devices, have spam filters installed. They should keep spam invisible, meaning your staff won’t download or click on it. Firewalls can be very helpful because they are great at identifying suspicious activity.

Use Secure Wi-Fi and Passwords

Use secure Wi-Fi networks only. Tempting as it may be, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi at libraries or eateries. This can end up wreaking havoc on your system. Update your computers’ operating systems on a regular basis. This is of paramount importance with respect to safety features. To protect sensitive information better, adopt a secure file sharing solution.

Stick to best practices where passwords and password protection are concerned, including changing yours regularly. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, complex word combinations, and numbers. One single security solution could be a top FTP server. These servers keep your information safe with intruder detection features, encryption, firewalls, and more. They are a great option to help avoid malware infections.