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Understanding Malware

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By: dks11

July 28, 2018


Malware continues to be an issue with today's ever-evolving technology.  It plagues everyone, from new users to advanced users; everyone can be affected by malware. The name comes from the words "malicious" and "software," hence malware. 

Many different forms of malware exist and target many different aspects of a system. Such types include

  •  Viruses
  •  Worms
  • Trojans
  • Rootkits
  • Ransomware
  • Backdoors
  • Keyloggers
  •  Adware
  •  and many many more.


These can be distinguished from trojans and worms by their dependency on another program to deliver their payload or code. Once started, they replicate themselves onto other programs and can perform many destructive functions.


A worm is a standalone piece of malware which replicates itself over the network that a computer is connected to. Once connected, it can do much harm, such as delivering other forms of malware or increasing bandwidth usage.


Masquerading as harmless software, a trojan will execute once the user installs or runs a program. Trojans mostly act as spyware, keyloggers, or backdoors, but they can manifest as something else.


Rootkits are designed to hide the initial malware from the user. They are very hard to detect to the point that reimaging a system may be necessary to remove one (if detected). They require root/admin access to deploy.


This nasty piece of malware, unfortunately, is becoming more prevalent day after day. It uses a high-bit key to encrypt all your files or important files on your computer. The only way to get them back is to pay a fee (in cryptocurrency). There is no recovery except through paying once you get infected!!!


Backdoors are used to maintain access after an attack. They can bypass normal authentication means. Sometimes, they will intentionally be put in place by the user for ease of access.


Like backdoors, these are not inherently malicious, as keyloggers record keyboard strokes, like in Notepad. But attackers can deploy them to steal credentials or other sensitive information.


We have all experienced adware, such as ads popping up on sites or apps. That is what adware is. Attackers can install adware on your computer to generate these annoying ads and can make money off of the ads in some cases.


While these are the basic forms of malware, many other forms exist, including logic bombs, achieve bombs, etc.

What can you do to prevent malware? Common prevention methods include things such as safe Internet practices, resistance to social engineering attacks, as they are how most types of malware are spread, and avoiding sketchy files.

Thank you!

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