Malware Protection Guide

If you’ve ever used a computer, you’ve likely heard of terms like worms, bots, and Trojans at some point. But, do you actually know the difference between all these terms? Most of us tend to consider any malicious threat to our computers a virus. Viruses, however, are just one type of malicious threat and fall under the broad category of “malware.” Protecting your PC starts with understanding the different types of malware and how they work.

VIRUSES

Viruses can replicate themselves and damage computer files that they target. They attach onto executable files such as songs and videos. This allows them to easily transfer across the Internet, from user to user. Viruses can only attack files if they have the support of an active host program.

Common types of viruses include:

WORMS

Worms can also replicate themselves, but they don’t need an active host program to cause damage. Once a worm makes its way into your system, it can self-replicate and spread to other computers via the network or Internet connection. Worms can harm your computer by consuming network bandwidth and injecting additional malware.

TROJANS

Trojans infect the user’s computer by disguising themselves as seemingly harmless programs. Users are tricked into loading and executing Trojans on their computer systems. Once activated, Trojans allow the attacker to copy, modify, delete, and steal sensitive data.

Common types of Trojans include:

BOTS

Bots, or robots, are an application that executes automated tasks on the user’s computer. Once a bot infects the computer, it connects to the central servers and forms a network of infected computers. This network is known as a botnet. Through the botnet, the attacker can launch large-scale spam campaigns such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on computer networks.

ADWARE

Adware displays or downloads unwanted advertisements on the user’s computer. It usually comes in the form of pop-up ads or redirecting your browser to advertising websites. If the adware doesn’t notify the user that it is collecting their information, it’s considered malicious and might contain spyware as well.

SPYWARE

Spyware collects data from computers and sends it to a third-party source without the user’s consent. It can monitor your web activity, access emails, and steal confidential information. This information might include login credentials, credit card numbers, and keystrokes.

RANSOMWARE

Ransomware blocks the user from using their computer until they pay a “ransom” fee. It restricts access to your computer’s data with a file encryption. In order to receive the encryption key and unlock the data, the user has to pay the ransom fee to the attacker.

So, now that you know the types of malware, how can you protect your PC? Here are a few simple tips.

To learn more about keeping your PC clean from malware, check out our infographic here.

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