Malware” is short for “malicious software” and these are computer programs designed to infiltrate and damage computers without the users’ consent. Malware is the general term covering all the different types of threats to your computer safety such as viruses,spyware, worms, trojans, rootkits and so on.
These malicious programs can perform a variety of functions, including stealing, encrypting or deleting sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users’ computer activity without their permission.
By Marvelous Chibagidi
Generally, software is considered malware based on the intent of the creator rather than its actual features. Malware creation is on the rise due to the sheer volume of new types created daily and the lure of money that can be made through organized internet crime.
The term malware was first used by computer scientist and security research Yisrael Radai in 1990. However, malware existed long before this; one of the first known examples of malware was the Creeper virus in 1971, which was created as an experiment by BBN Technologies engineer Robert Thomas.
On adware one can agree that we all have seen some pop up adverts on certain applications running on our phones or PC’s or have someone share a link with information seeming too good to be true and we were later warned but some knowledgeable person that its a spam or possible malware.
There are different types of malware that contain unique traits and characteristics but one can also fix their system in the case of being infected but on the streets most of us only know the virus.
A virus is the most common type of malware, and it’s defined as a malicious program that can execute itself and spreads by infecting other programs or files.
A worm is a type of malware that can self-replicate without a host program; worms typically spread without any human interaction or directives from the malware authors.
A trojan horse is a malicious program that is designed to appear as a legitimate program; once activated following installation, Trojans can execute their malicious functions.
Spyware is a kind of malware that is designed to collect information and data on users and observe their activity without users’ knowledge.
These are initiated when a user visits a malicious website, for example. Phishing attacks are another common type of malware delivery; emails disguised as legitimate messages contain malicious links, or attachments can deliver the malware executable to unsuspecting users.
There are other types of programs that share common traits with malware, but are distinctly different. Adware, for example, can have adverse effects on users in terms of annoying users with unwanted ads and degrading performance of the device or system. However, adware is generally not considered the same as malware, since there isn’t a malicious intent to harm users or their systems.
But do not be all depressed because at the end of it all one can actually protect them-self from malware.
Malware security protection provides that second vital layer of protection for your computer or network. A robust antivirus software package is the primary component of technological defenses that every personal and business computer system should have.
Well-designed antivirus protection has several characteristics. It checks any newly downloaded program to ensure that it is malware free. It periodically scans the computer to detect and defeat any malware that might have slipped through. It is regularly updated to recognize the latest threats.
Good antivirus protection can also recognize — and warn against — even previously unknown malware threats, based on technical features such as attempting to “hide” on a computer that are characteristic of malware. In addition, robust antivirus software detects and warns against suspicious websites, especially those that may be designed for phishing a technique that tricks users into entering passwords or account numbers.
Finally, malware protection needs to be usable. Effective antivirus software must be simple to download and install, so you don’t need to be a Ph.D. in computer science in order to use it. Look for antivirus software solutions that have the characteristics outlined above — and follow through by installing it.