Sunday, May 28, 2017

Viruses? Malware? Ransomware?

By Matt Nixon

Many children, parents, and internet users alike constantly worry about getting “viruses” on their computers, however many don’t know the different types of computer infections and how to genuinely prevent and dispose of them. Often times viruses can be a lot more than just a minor computer problem, entire bank accounts, identity, passwords, and any personal information you have can be stolen off of your computer.

What are the different types of viruses and malwares?
Some of the most common viruses are browser hijackers, directory viruses, trojans, memory resident viruses, and overwrite viruses. The most common malwares are adwares, bots, ransomware, rootkits, worms, and spyware. These are all different types of only the most frequent viruses and malwares, there are still more out there and it’s very easy for you to get them if you aren’t protected. For more information about these different types, refer to the link below:

What’s the difference between malware and a virus?
It’s very common for people to use the words interchangeably which is not the case at all actually, in fact a virus is just a type of malware and isn’t nearly as severe as most malware. The word malware itself essentially means bad software, its purpose is to steal information, steal passwords and accounts, destroy or break programs and computers systems, and holding your computer hostage.

So then what does a virus do?
A virus is a type of malware that when it gets into your computer it self replicates and spreads itself throughout as much of your files as it can. Viruses can also use one computer to spread to other computers on the same networks. A virus most often comes in a downloaded file or spam email. The best way to prevent getting a virus like this is having a good malware AND virus protection program. However if you can’t afford that it's best to not open emails you aren’t expecting and only using safe and trusted websites.

What are the most dangerous types of malware?
Many malwares and viruses are just there to corrupt your files, which isn’t ideal but it’s a solvable problem, however some can do some real damage, life changing and potentially life destroying. The simplest of these is simply having your accounts stolen, passwords cracked, and messages intercepted. Again this is not ideal but it’s another solvable problem. The real dangerous waters are keyloggers and ransomware, These are types of malware that are typically injected into illegally downloaded files or clickbait emails. Ransomware is something that has been around for a long time, however more recently due to an unknown hacking group discovering a key flaw in the windows OS that allows this malware to thrive. Ransomware essentially holds your computer ransom for anywhere between $300-$1000 and there is still no sure way to stop the malware. Keyloggers can be used in many ways, to see messages, passwords, and most importantly credit card numbers or your SSN. This mean you must always practice safety on the internet because having your bank account emptied or your identity stolen can lead you to a whole other world of bad.

Works Cited
"Ransomware." Ransomware Facts - Microsoft Malware Protection Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.
What Are Malware, Viruses, Spyware, and Cookies, and What Differentiates Them ? | Symantec Connect. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.

Image citations
Photo 1: Article by Jeffrey Esposito 72 Posts  'Unless Someone like You Cares a Whole Awful Lot, Nothing Is Going to Get Better. It's Not.' ~ The Lorax. "Kaspersky Lab Official Blog." Daily – English – Global – N.p., 03 May 2016. Web. 26 May 2017.
Photo 2:Russon, Mary-Ann. "Malware in Chinese Made Tablets." International Business Times UK. N.p., 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 26 May 2017.
Photo 3:"Computer Viruses." BrainPOP. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2017.
Photo 4:"Memory Scrapers, Keyloggers, and Sniffers Oh My!" SecurityMetrics Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2017.

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