Short for malicious software, malware is the broad term given to any program or app running on your device that performs a deliberate malicious act. Most commonly known as a virus, malware is used to gain access to your device to get personal information and usually, ultimately get you to part with your money.
Malware comes in many forms:
Most commonly known, a computer virus infects your device and can cause it to crash, create popup ads, steal your data, make your PC run slow.
Infection is spread via email or by portable USB drives.
Looks like a legitimate program and gets you to download / install it. Once installed it can hide on your device, opening your device to unauthorised access, or invite more nasty programs to be downloaded without you knowing.
Allows spying on your activities. This can be as simple as recording your website visits, so that advertisers can target you, but can also include Trojans and Keyloggers.
Works like a virus, but does so automatically without human intervention. A worm can get into your address book and mass email everyone or spread via the Internet to insecure devices. The good news is that worms are rarer these days.
Ransomware is delivered by a link in an innocent looking email. Once the link is clicked on a hidden download is initiated and boom, all your important files are encrypted including email, documents and accounting files!
You then receive a message offering decryption information for a payment!
Adware / Annoyware
Displays annoying ads and changes your Internet browser’s home page and you can’t change it back; slows down your device’s performance.
Records all the keys you press to mainly capture usernames and passwords for anything from Facebook to banking. It can also be used by suspicious partners who are interested in online chats or email correspondence of their partners.
Uses the computing power of your device, and many others, to ‘mine’ for digital currency by solving difficult mathematical equations. The more equations are solved the more miners are rewarded.
This ‘mining’ impacts your PC’s performance and increases your electricity usage. It does not, however, steal your personal details.
There are a lot of nasties out there and you’ve got to protect yourself. Think you’re adequately covered? Get Free Malware protection advice from cpnwork.com.