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Everything You Need To Know About Malware Threats

Prasanna Peshkar's profile image

By: Prasanna Peshkar

January 31, 2022

Malware is a type of computer program or software developed to cause damage to the computer. It is also called malicious software, which can harm files, swipe private data, and more. This article will discuss Malware and different types of malware threats.

The rise of computer and internet technology has transformed our lives, and it has changed the course of the companies running businesses. Yet, technology development and digitization have provided an incline to cybercriminal actions. These cyberattacks utilize malicious code (also known as Malware) for financial robbery, spying, ransomware, intellectual property stealing, and political justifications.

What Is Malware?

As mentioned earlier, Malware is a programming code that executes malicious activities. For example, it is an executable code, script, or another executable file. Hackers employ malware to swipe private data, spy on the servers, or compromise the system. It generally enters the machine without user permission and can be inserted via different communication mediums such as email, URLs, or USB drives. In other words, malware is composed of two separate words: Malicious and software. It is developed to meddle with the computer's commonly functioning processes.

Below are some of the harmful activities executed by malware:

  • Interrupting computer functions
  • Swiping private data.
  • Unauthorized entry to the system.
  • Mailing spam and malicious emails
  • Responsible for distributed-denial-of-service attacks (DDOS)
  • Locking up files to carry out the ransomware attacks.

Malware can decrypt vulnerable passwords, be installed into computers, and circulated through networks. As mentioned earlier, certain types of malware can encrypt (lock-up) critical files, spam victims with malicious ads, or divert them to malicious websites. In other words, Malware attacks can be anything from data swiping to the collapse of whole computer systems or machines.

Malware is at the heart of numerous cyberattacks. For example, malware can lead to data breaches that cause identity theft and deception. Hackers strive for malware attacks against people, businesses, and even countries. Malware is a comprehensive class, with various types of malware influencing machines and networks in different forms.

What are The Types of Malware?

The classifications categorize how malware functions and how it extends. Let us take a look:

Viruses: A virus is just a piece of a program or a code that uploads or inserts itself into another program, like the common cold. For instance, the common cold requires a host to prevail in human beings, and that host is a human being with the virus. It is the identical thing a computer virus requires a host to prevail in. So it frankly infiltrates itself into another program. A computer virus enters a system via a vulnerability (e.g., open ports or hiding in a program). They can spread uncontrollably, harming a machine's core working and deleting or deteriorating files.

A computer virus is the oldest computer threat, dating back to 1986 (The Brain Boot Sector Virus). Viruses are malicious bits of malware that seize a computer's files or other resources to imitate, circulate, and induce all kinds of mess. It is a type of malware capable of copying itself and spreading to other computers.

Trojans: Malware hides as a program to deceive users into installing it on their computers. After the installation, it can execute tasks such as swiping user data, installing malicious files to the attacker's machine or server, or even webcams. In other words, a Trojan's goal is to creep onto the machine and install more malware.

The Trojan horse is the name given to a computer virus. This name comes from the traditional saga of the Trojan horse because it emulates that strategy to infect machines. A Trojan will disguise itself within apparently innocent programs or attempt to fool users into installing it.

Spyware: Spyware is malware developed to snoop on or stalk users. It disguises itself in the environment or background and gathers user data such as passwords, GPS location, and other crucial information. It is also called a Backdoor or Remote Access Trojan (RAT). It allows the attacker to obtain access to and run commands on the hacked computer.

Hacking groups utilize spyware to gather financial data such as online banking statements, details, passwords, or credit card data. While viruses can harm any machine or data, spyware steals personal identity and crucial information.

Keyloggers: It is a kind of spyware that disguises itself on the machine. It does this by simply recording all the keystrokes. They can grab login data, credit card numbers, and other private information.

Keyloggers are some of the worst malware. The reason is that they disclose everything a user types using the keyboard.

Adware: It is a type of Malware that delivers undesirable advertisements to the user. They normally get distributed via unrestricted downloads and can install any malicious software on the system. It is harmful to a PC because it slows it down and hijacks the browser.

Adware is a type of malware that users understand when they notice it. Users can easily identify adware by the numerous pop-up dialog boxes covering their computer screens. Adware, signifying "advertising malware," depicts undesirable promotions by utilizing pushy and potentially harmful ways.

Botnet: This is several machines contaminated with identical malware (named bots), lingering to accept orders from the command-and-control server owned by the hacker. The hacker can then order these bots, which can execute evil actions such as DDOS attacks or transmitting malicious or spam emails.

A botnet can monitor users' online activities, steal personal information, manipulate the system's data, install and run malicious applications on the victim's machines.

Rootkits: Rootkits equip the attacker with confidential credentials to the infected device and hide its existence or the existence of other malicious software. Rootkits are a destructive and difficult-to-find type of malware that excavate profoundly into the device to provide a hacker with complete administrative credentials.

Cryptominers: This malware is responsible for mining cryptocurrency. It forces victims to mine a cryptocurrency for the attacker. It is also called crypto jacking.

Categorizing malware based on its working may not always be achievable because a particular malware can include numerous functionalities, which may come under a combination of types mentioned earlier. For instance, malware can contain a worm feature that monitors the network examining vulnerable machines and can insert another malware feature such as a backdoor or ransomware.

For instance, if the malware is utilized to swipe private, enterprise, or proprietary data for profit, then the malware can be called crimeware. If the malware is utilized to focus on a certain company or enterprise to swipe data/collect intelligence for spying, then it can be categorized as targeted or spying malware.

What are the indications of a malware infection?

The world of malware is myriad, but many kinds of malware disseminate identical warning indications. Users can monitor their device for the following signs of a malware infection:

  • Performance declines: Malware can occupy the huge processing power of a computer. Due to this, the performance of a computer declines.

  • Regular crashes: Some malware will force the machine to hang or crash, while some will induce crashes by sipping too much RAM or CPU power.

  • Corrupted files: Some malware usually deletes or corrupts files as an element of its strategy to create as much mess as possible.

  • Too many pop-up ads: In this, the exclusive job is to spam users with pop-ups. Some malware may generate pop-up ads and warnings as well.

Conclusion

With attackers becoming advanced and conducting cutting-edge malware attacks, catching and responding to intrusions is essential for cybersecurity experts. Malware analysis has become a must-have talent for combating state-of-the-art malware and targeted aggression. Malware analysis needs an understanding of various domains and topics. In other words, understanding malware analysis takes time and demands patience.

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