Malware, or malicious software, is a broad term used to describe a set of programs intended to carry out unauthorized activities. When a malware is injected into a computer system, it can affect its functioning, steal important files, dodge access controls and track the user’s online activity. In order to prevent these malicious programs from infecting your system, it is important to understand the different types of malware found online. Some of these have been discussed below:
A computer virus mainly infects a computer system through a malicious code embedded in a software or program. It can be used to steal information, damage hard disk, relay spam email and advertizements, create botnets etc. When a user launches the infected program, the virus can spread on to other computers through email attachments, IMs, shared network, removable storage devices etc.
A Trojan typically comes disguised as useful software in order to convince the user to download and install it. Once executed, it can give remote access of your computer system to the hacker. The program is designed to take complete control of the victim’s system with the purpose of causing damage or pilfering confidential information. A Trojan allows the hacker to delete or modify files, steal financial information, install more malware etc.
This type of malware works by anonymously tracking a user’s online activity and transmitting it to a cybercriminal. Stealing financial information, such as bank account numbers, online banking and credit card details, is the main target of most spyware. It can also slow down the infected computer, particularly when there is more than one program running.
A rootkit is designed to function remotely so as to avoid being detected by the users or anti-virus software. Once installed on a computer system, a rootkit can steal or gain access to your information, execute program files, modify security software, install another malware and alter system configurations. It can even block installation of anti-virus software or lock the system to prevent detection.
Computer worms may spread in a disguised form by exploiting security vulnerabilities in the operating system. They can create a backdoor in your computer which allows a hacker to access the system remotely, making it vulnerable to a Denial-of-service (DoS) attack. Unlike viruses, worms can self-replicate, without the need of a host and can send out its copies to several other systems, by infiltrating contacts in your email or phone book.
It is important that you follow the requisite security measures to avoid malware attacks and protect your identity online.