How Malware Can Attack Your Computer

malware attack computers

There are tons of malware floating around in the software world. Malware is short for malicious software. There are several types of malware that can comprise the function of your computer, phone and other types of devices. Malware is a type of software that can harm your computer, steal sensitive information, and attack your computer network with viruses, worms or trojans.

Malware can wreak havoc on your computer in a several different ways. It can infect your computer with a worm. As described by CSO, “A worm is a standalone piece of malicious software that reproduces itself and spreads from computer to computer.”

Malware can also infect computers as a virus and a trojan, CSO explains, “A virus is a piece of computer code that inserts itself within the code of another standalone program, then forces that program to take malicious action and spread itself. A trojan is a program that cannot reproduce itself but masquerades as something the user wants and tricks them into activating it so it can do its damage and spread.”

Here is a further breakdown of what can happen when malware attacks a computer:

Adware

This is a malware that can force your internet browser to redirect to web advertisements that often are the keeper of more malicious software. These ads usually carry downloads and may lure users in with “free” programs such as games or free giveaways.

Spyware

This malware is basically spying on you… it is an undercover malware that secretly gathers data on users who don’t know they are being watched. CSO describes it as, “In essence, it spies on your behavior as you use your computer, and on the data you send and receive, usually with the purpose of sending that information to a third party. A keylogger is a specific kind of spyware that records all the keystrokes a user makes—great for stealing passwords.”

Rootkit

This malware is essentially a malicious tool kit. TechTarget shares, “a program or, more often, a collection of software tools that gives a threat actor remote access to and control over a computer or other system.” This one is sneaky because it has the power to hide it’s existence and you may not know it is even there lurking in the background.

Ransomware

This form of malware will attack your computer’s hard drive, and takes files on your hard drive hostage. An attacker will make a demand for payment, most likely in the form of a Bitcoin. In return you will be given a decryption key. If you do not receive a decryption key then you most likely will not gain access to the files that were encrypted during this attack. CSO shares an example of ransomware strain, “So-called scareware is a sort of shadow version of ransomware; it claims to have taken control of your computer and demands a ransom, but actually is just using tricks like browser redirect loops to make it seem as if it’s done more damage than it really has, and unlike ransomware can be relatively easily disabled.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is another form of a cyber security attack. Described by CSO, “is another way attackers can force you to supply them with Bitcoin—only it works without you necessarily knowing. The crypto mining malware infects your computer and uses your CPU cycles to mine Bitcoin for your attacker’s profit. The mining software may run in the background on your operating system or even as JavaScript in a browser window.”

Malvertising 

This type of malware can attack through actual ads that are legit ads. Malware can be transferred to your computer unknowingly. A user could click on an ad that has been purchased from a cybercriminal and then be redirected to a malicious website. Or the click of an can cause malware to be installed onto your computer.

Virus

Viruses can attack by copying themselves and spreading themselves onto other computers through computer programs. A virus can plant themselves within a code in the software. So when a new user launches the software and installs the infected file on their computer, the virus can now spread into someone else’s computer. Viruses can also spread through script files, email, web apps and more. They are used to steal information, can harm computer networks, corrupt files and more.

Stay Safe From Malware  

How to keep clear of a Malware attack? You can install and run-anti malware and firewall software on your computer. Anti malware software should be able to fight against viruses, spyware, adware, trojans and worms. Keep your software up-to-date with any current vulnerability patches. These patches are often released to fight against current forms of malware. Be careful and mindful of what you download. If the download seems strange or not familiar, don’t download it! It could most likely contain malware.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your company from malware attacks? Give us a call here at SDTEK, we’d be happy to speak with you.

Leave a Reply