Malware means “malicious software,” and this name justifies malware’s effect fully. When such programs appear on your personal computer, you might not even know about it. As AV-TEST website reports, AV-TEST Institute lists over 350 thousands of new malware types. Making money with the help of malware became the leading tendency during the last several years.
Hackers use various viruses and trojans for stealing bank information and obtaining access to banking accounts. Also, with the help of malware, it is possible to steal credit card numbers and to send spam and additional advertising.
Where Does Malware Come From?
How can you catch malicious software? Well, for example, while starting the infected program on the computer; loading of the operating system from the infected carrier; connecting to a system with the infected driver or library; reading the infected document or annex to the unfamiliar e-mail; visit of the shady website; and even by updating games from the unknown sources.
Common Forms of Malware
Main types of malicious applications are listed below:
Botnets. A group of computers infected with viruses and united in a single network. Such network can contain from several units to millions of computers; it is also called the “zombie network” because infected machines pass malware to the “healthy” ones.
Exploits. The hacker utilities Exploit, HackTool.
Backdoors. The particular program used for remote connection to the computer and its control.
Computer viruses. The most numerous and known malware. Viruses get into files, creating their doubles. For this purpose, the malware establishes a system of such files.
Rootkits. The program which hides malware presence on the computer.
Net worms. The malicious applications, adaptive to network, usually with different functions.
Trojans (the Trojan program). They differ from worms and the attached viruses in lack of own mechanism of distribution. Getting on the computer, trojans perform illegal operations: steal or delete your data or corrupt important files.
Classification of Malicious Software by the Caused Damage
Safe programs which do not do explicit harm to the operating system, the file system, information carriers. To this group belong almost all modern swindlers – AdWare/SpyWare, Hoax, and similar programs.
The programs which destroy and (or) change data on carriers – practically all viruses and separate Trojan programs. For example, they can block half of the hard drive disc and demand payment for stopping this operation. Also, the programs organizing leaks of confidential information are, as a rule, Trojans.
The programs cracking computers’ protection – the backdoor-programs providing reserved management of computer operation; killer-programs which actively counteract the work of anti-virus software.
The most dangerous and complex types of malicious applications are created for the public intelligence agencies or the related groups of cybercriminals. Such malware has it’s specifics and directed to the concrete victim or group of the victims. They can be applied for thievery and collection of confidential data or direct wrecking.
But the majority of malicious software is created only for criminal purposes. Such products, having got to the computer of the victim, can steal data to gain access to bank accounts, carry out malware attacks from the infected device, implement programs for repayment extortion, and place advertising of suspicious products or send spam.
Other sources of virus distribution are the petty criminals abducting logins, passwords and additional personal information, for example, gaming accounts for unauthorized use or sale. The purpose of such malware is not only to gain benefit but also to study the computer environment and test new ideas.
How to recognize that your device was infected?
Viruses become more cunning; therefore, operating systems and antiviruses sometimes cannot recognize and neutralize them. There are several signs by which you can independently determine that your computer was infected.
Disconnected Antivirus Program
One of the main indicators of malware infection is disconnected antivirus. If it suddenly ceased to work, does not check files and memory, it is possible that some malicious code blocks it.
Outgoing Spam Messages
If suddenly your friends began to receive spam emails from you, it can point at computer infection too. Just warn people not to follow the links from your letters and change your password.
Blocking in Social Networks
The websites and social networks began to log you out from your account and/or block you. It means social network administration found a harmful activity which comes from your account or the computer. Quite possibly, hackers took control over your accounts, and you need to change passwords and check the computer for viruses.
New Suspicious Software
If you see unknown programs appeared from nowhere on your computer, most likely, some viruses installed them. Files or programs can be hidden, but you can reveal suspicious software when you open the task manager.
One more sign of the infected computer is a large number of advertising in browsers. Advertising which is shown by a virus usually behaves aggressively — replaces links of the usual websites and redirects to the suspicious pages. It may open new tabs and separate window banners, encouraging to buy something or to play in the casino. Also, it tries to implement doubtful toolbars and expansions in the browser.
Processor, Memory, Internet
Mining viruses load the processor significantly, the video card consumes a lot of random access memory. Malware turns computers into a botnet or arranges the malware attack, increasing Internet traffic spending.
Close all programs, open task manager and look at whether the system idling is loaded. If any of background processes behave suspiciously, it is highly probable they are infected with a virus.
If on the computer files began to disappear or change, it is a sign of virus encoder work. Usually, such malware needs several hours for ciphering data and deleting the originals of files, and then it will block a system.
Loss of Money
Some viruses are ground on the theft of cryptocurrencies and cash from banks. They steal logins and passwords from crypto purses and bank accounts, and it will be challenging to find thieves. If you noticed the loss of money, analyze what IP addresses visited your account recently. If you see that money was withdrawn in the unknown direction from your IP, it means that your computer is under the control of hackers.
How to Protect Yourself from Malware?
PC users do not consider malware a severe threat. On the contrary, business companies, speak about malware as of significant danger. There is no absolute protection against it, but there’s a possibility to reduce the risk of this threat.
First of all, it is necessary to install and timely update new versions of OS, to monitor the updating of all programs, and to use antivirus software from reliable sources. Moreover, do not to allow strangers to use your personal computer and do not to open suspicious links, letters, and files.
If you suspect that your computer is infected, it is necessary to carry out archiving the essential information in case if in the course of treatment it will be damaged.
Load the operating system from the external write-protected information carrier (CD ROM, DVD or again connected checked HDD).
Start the freshest version of antivirus software from a write-protected CD ROM, protected USB stick or DVD.
Check the operating system or applications after the anti-virus software.
After completion of the antivirus software task, if treatment took place successfully (there are no viruses left), it is desirable to start the ScanDisk program to check each hard drive disk. If the full operability of a system or separate programs wasn’t recovered afterward, re-install these programs again.
Your antivirus has to check everything that you upload on your computer. It is not simple to fulfill this requirement using the Internet nonstop. However, it is necessary to save your downloaded files in the separate folder during the current Internet session. Right after you finish your work on the Internet, check this and the temporary Internet files folders for the presence of viruses. Only after that, it is possible to work with the downloaded materials, including mail attachments.
Modern security applications include a set of program components and methods of detection of “good” and “bad” software. Today antivirus product suppliers build in the scanners for detection of “spies” and other malicious code and thus do everything possible to protect the user.
Nevertheless, any packet against spy programs is not perfect. One product can treat programs too fixedly, blocking them at the slightest suspicion, including “cleaning” useful utilities which you regularly use. Other product is more loyal to programs but can miss some spyware.
There is no panacea from malware, but you have to take all possible measures to protect your computer and your confidential information.