When it comes to talking about malware their are numerous different types and varieties that it would be hard to talk about a specific program, instead we will be discussing the top 3 types of malware and how you can protect yourself against them. Every hacker has his own way of inserting malware into peoples computers, whether is be via torrents, high-jacked webpages, emails or from a good old USB thumb drive.
According to Symantec's analysis of security threats in 2014, each day nearly 1 million new viruses are created. Security companies such as Kaspersky, Symantec and Bull Guard are struggling to find ways to fend off cyber attacks as hackers are getting more creative a lot more sneakier. 2014 was a big year for cyber crime and we sore a huge increase in the complexity and severity of malware infections.
One of the most notorious viruses released in 2014 was the 'Heartbleed Bug'. This evil program was one of the worst the internet had ever seen, it allowed hackers to bypass SSL encrypted websites such as 'Amazon' and recover users login details and bank account details, as well as this it compromises the session keys that keep you logged into a website, allowing an outsider to pose as you - no passwords required. Most major companies have updated their sites to resolve this issue now but some victims do still remain.
Symptoms of a malware infection
- Increased CPU usage
- Slow computer or web browser speeds
- Problems connecting to networks
- Freezing or crashing
- Modified or deleted files
- Appearance of strange files, programs, or desktop icons
- Programs running, turning off, or reconfiguring themselves (malware will often reconfigure or turn off antivirus and firewall programs)
- Strange computer behaviour
- Emails/messages being sent automatically and without user’s knowledge
Below is the 3 main types of malware you will most likely be on the receiving end of:
This is one of the most common, and most intimidating pieces of malware you will come across. It works by locking down your computer and displaying a rather frightening fake message from a government body such as the CIA or MI6.
The message will normally accuse you of looking at illegal images or websites and instruct you that you must pay a fine of a few hundred pound/dollars. The program will stop you from being able to use your PC but will not go for good if you was to pay, it will lay in wait for a few weeks and then attack again... and keep repeating the process.
To remove this program, it usually requires entering safe mode and trying to track it down, but if that fails then a re-installation of your operating system may be required.
A Trojan horse, or 'Trojan', is a type of malware that disguises itself as a normal file or program to trick users into downloading and installing it. A Trojan can give a malicious hacker remote access to the infected computer. Once an attacker has access to the infected computer, it is possible for the attacker to steal data such as login information, bank details and pictures. A Trojan will also allow the hacker to install more malware, modify files, monitor user activity by watching the screen remotely and logging keystrokes (keylogger).
To remove a Trojan infection, a user should take the PC to their closest repair shop and have a professional health and security check performed, in very serious cases it may be required that the PC is wiped and the operating system is re-installed.
Adware is the most common type of malware infection and effects thousands of users and businesses. The idea behind adware is to bombard users with annoying pop-ups offering them deals and trying to enticing them to click on the pop-ups, once the pop-up has been clicked the creator of the malware will receive money from the advertiser e.g Tesco's or John Lewis.
Although adware is annoying and very easy catch, it is just as easy to remove, a professional PC repair shop should be able to clean an infected computer is 1-2 hours. No computer repair shop should have to wipe your computer to remove this type of infection.
How to stay protected
Most PC users are clueless when it comes to protecting against viruses/ malware, and older generations are petrified of getting infected and end up paying hundreds for new computers or for a novice to clean-up their infected PC.
If you wish to keep yourself protected and stay one-step-ahead then please purchase Malwarebytes anti-malware from here, and download one anti-virus from the list below. (Please only install one!).
Advast free anti-virus: https://www.avast.com/en-gb/index?device=c&gclid=CM2S9ra6-80CFdYV0wod7wUFlg
Sophos for home: https://www.sophos.com/en-us/lp/sophos-home.aspx
AVG Free: http://free.avg.com/gb-en/homepage