What Is Malware?
The term malware is a combination of malicious and software. It refers to any malicious program or malicious code that damages systems.
Malware can invade, destroy or disable computers, systems, tablets, or mobile devices by affecting their partial functions so that the whole system finally breaks down, which is similar to the human flu that may kill a person by stopping some organs from smoothly running.
Where there is profit, there will be malware. Malware is created to make money. Although malware fails to destroy your computer or network hardware, it can steal, encrypt or delete your data, or change or hijack core computer functions. In addition, all your computer activities will possibly be monitored or tracked without your knowledge.
What Are the Signs of Malware Infection?
Despite malware’s craftiness, some changes still take place on your devices when they suffer from malware infection. Knowing these signals are useful to identify malware and prevent it from doing too much damage to your systems.
Malware Signals on PC
- Your devices run slowly.
- More ads than normal appear on your screen.
- Your system breaks down without any reason.
- The disk space is mysteriously lost.
- Your system’s internet activity goes up.
- The homepage of your browser is changed without your permission.
- Some new toolbars, extensions, or add-ons suddenly appear on your browser.
- Your antivirus software suddenly stops working.
Malware Signals on Android Devices
- Invasive ads suddenly appear on your screen.
- Data usage increases without your expectation.
- There are bogus charges on your bill.
- Strange phone numbers or SMS appear on your contact list.
- When your Android phone’s performance lags, your phone gets heated.
- Devices are automatically connected to WiFi or the internet.
The signals and signs listed above can help you recognize the occurrence of malware and effective measures can be made in time to detect it. However, some malware is so smart that you can hardly feel their existence.
Of course, Mac or iPhone or iPad can occasionally get malware. But we’ve not included them here due to their higher security than the Android system. It doesn’t that mean Apple products are totally malware immune. It just seldom happens.
How does Malware Work?
Although malware has different types and forms, all malware works similarly: to download or install malicious software on your devices without your attention. Once it penetrates your system, your devices will get infected sooner or later.
You probably got malware because either you click a link in your email or visit a malicious website. In mobile cases, infection possibly occurs through a click on your SMS. A malware infection can also occur in your system when malicious code or malicious software is loaded in your hardware such as a mobile hard disk drive. Therefore, it’s common sense that your disk drive (like a USB) mustn’t be plugged into an unknown or untrustworthy computer.
What Are the Most Common Types of Malware?
Spyware: As the name implies, Spyware is a malware designed to spy on your computer at large and all the data on it. It works underground on a stealth mode and hides in the background of your computer as it records all your activities on your computer including your password, credit card numbers, social media login details, your banking app details, SSN, and all other details on your computer system. It tracks and spies on your activities from time to time on your computer with the intention of sharing or selling this information later down the line.
Ransomware: Based on the word ‘ransom’ due to its obvious characteristics, Ransomware is that malware that locks down your computer and its files and threatens to erase all your data unless you pay a ransom. Ransomware attack infects a computer system and encrypts the data on it then a ransom is asked to be paid to the cybercriminals and dark hackers in charge of the malware.
Virus: A virus is the most popular type of malware. You can easily come across viruses through some normal activities like transferring files from an already infected computer, using an infected flash drive or plugging in an external hard disk. You can also get your computer infected with a virus by visiting some harmful websites. This type of malware can spread itself without any human communication or control from the Malware author or hacker. It replicates by itself and damages other program data and files.
Trojan horse: Trojan is a type of Malware that appears with a fake interface that looks just like real and genuine software. It can be attached to a real and original software that had been tampered with by a dark hacker or malware author who had hidden the malware in it. Trojan horses work in a stealth mode that is on the computer system underground and creates loopholes in your computer security for other malware to come in.
Worms: Worms are self-duplicated malware. They can be automatically spread in computer systems or networks. Different from other types of malware, worms depend on no programs or files. They won’t be noticed unless the amount of their duplications increases to such a large extent and lots of system space has been used.
How to Remove Malware
Malware can be removed through some careful means and cautious procedures.
Get rid of malicious malware with antimalware or antivirus software
Antimalware or antivirus software is computer software that’s programmed and designed to detect malware and eliminate computer malware and viruses to protect the computer system from any threat and invasion. The use of antimalware or antivirus software helps your computer to run a real-time check for malware and viruses by scanning through your computer system, then blocking and removing any detected malware, viruses, or other malicious threats. Antimalware or antivirus software is designed in a systematic way that makes it operate like the virus or malware it is looking for. The software hooks deep into the computer’s operating system and then establishes a checkpoint at every place in the system where malware or viruses might want to come in through. Whenever the operating system accesses a file from any source, the antimalware software runs a quick check by scanning through the files and then looking for lurking malware and viruses. If any are found, it will be dealt with immediately and the operation of such an infected file would be stopped. Antimalware and antivirus software is a 24/7 standby protection.
Prevent malware with smart and careful online behaviors
You can also prevent malware from affecting your computer system through cautious and smart behavior online. When surfing the internet, be very cautious of the sites you visit. Some sites are loaded with viruses waiting to ambush you and are unsafe to visit. Don’t download files from untrusted sites and don’t download files that are not original. Many people tend to download malware-infected files because they don’t want to purchase original files on the file actual website due to the high cost, and therefore they go about looking for a copy or hacked version which might have been infected or attached with malware by dark hackers. Do not do this.
To avoid malware, keep your software up to date
Always make sure your computer software is up to date. Update your computer software regularly. It will help you in avoiding malware on your computer system.
Remove malware with the right software
When getting rid of your computer malware, endeavor to use the right software. Sometimes people cause more harm to their computers by using the wrong software, accidentally downloading malware when looking for antimalware, or just downloading software that slows down their system. Often this will have catastrophic consequences and will cause more damage to the operating system of the computer. All these will result in a compulsory need to format your computer and lose all files and software.
Last but not least, use VPN to maintain your online privacy and security
To protect your data from being stolen, your online activities from being tracked, and your personal information from being monitored, a VPN is a must-have tool when surfing on the internet. The tunneling technology that a VPN uses helps you to browse anonymously by hiding your real IP address. As a result, a hacker has no idea where to attack you since you are hidden. And, decentralized VPN does a much better job in protecting your online privacy and security.
You May Also Like:
- What is My IP Address and How to Hide It with One Tap on a VPN?
- What is Ransomware? Everything You Should Know About Top 1 Possible Cyberattack in 2021
- What’s Computer Hacking and How to Prevent It
- Ask Your Employees These Questions to Easily Test Their Cybersecurity Awareness
- Why Your VPN is So “Slow”