Malware is the contraction for malicious software, a program that is created to penetrate your computer and corrupt, steal, harm your computer. In general, malware is meant to create a series of problems on your computer or laptop. The different malware can be viruses, Trojans, and spyware that have a different purpose.
Malware is usually made by teams of hackers who have the intention to make money, either by spreading the malware themselves or by selling it to the highest bidder on the dark network. However, there are other reasons for creating this kind of program. It can be used as a tool of protest, as a way of testing security, or even as a weapon of war between governments.
What does malware do?
All kind of things. The term is very broad, and its effect and mode of operation vary from file to file. This list describes the common types of malware, although there are many more around the internet:
Viruses: Like their biological counterparts, viruses attach themselves to files and corrupt other files. They can spread out of control, damaging essential functions of a system, as well as deleting or disabling files. Typically, they have the appearance of executable (.exe) files.
Trojans: This type of malware poses as legitimate software or hides in a legitimate program that has been manipulated. It usually acts unobtrusively and creates backdoors in security to allow other malware access.
Spyware: The purpose of this malware is, as the name suggests, to spy on you. It lurks in the shadows and takes note of what you do on the Internet, including, among other things, passwords, credit card numbers, and browsing habits.
How to protect against malware
To avoid malware, prevention is the answer to those problems. There are some simple and common sense behaviors to minimize the possibility of dealing with any kind of malicious software.
Don’t trust strangers on the Internet Social engineering, which can include strange emails, sudden alerts, fake profiles, and tempting offers, is the main method of spreading malware, if you see something that you don’t know exactly what it is, avoid it at all.
Double-check your downloads Whether on hacking sites or in the window of official stores, malware is often lurking around the corner, therefore, before downloading something, check that the provider is reliable by looking the reviews and comments for any negative sign.
Get an ad blocker Malvertising the use by hackers of banners or pop-up ads to introduce malware to devices is on the rise. It is not possible to know which ads are dangerous, so it is safer to block them all with a reliable ad blocker.
Watch out for the pages you visit Malware can be found anywhere, but it is more common on websites with poor server security, such as small, local websites. If you limit yourself to large, reputable sites, you will greatly reduce the risk of encountering malware.
Unfortunately, even if you follow the above recommendation to the letter, it is possible to end up infected with the malware: hackers have found ways to sneak their viruses into every corner of the Web. To achieve real security, you need to combine healthy online habits with powerful and reliable anti-malware software such as an antivirus, which detects and stops malware before it infects your PC, Mac, or mobile device.