What is Malware?

Malware has  been a threat to individuals and organizations since the early 1970s when the Creeper virus first appeared. Since then, the world has been under attack from hundreds of thousands of different malware variants, all with the intent of causing the most disruption and damage as possible. Malware does not physically damage the hardware.

Malware is a software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.“Malware” is short for “malicious software” -computer programs or codes designed to infiltrate, damage or disable the computer, Computer Systems, networks without the user’s consent. It can steal, encrypt, or delete your data, alter or hijack core computer functions, and spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or permission.

As Microsoft puts it, “[malware] is a catch-all term to refer to any software designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network.”

“Malware” is an umbrella term covering all the different types of threats to your computer safety such as viruses (previous post), spyware, worms, trojans, rootkits and so on.

Types of Malware

VIRUS

Possibly the most common type of malware, virus can execute itself and spread by infecting other programs or files. It is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another. A virus operates by inserting or attaching malicious code to clean code in order to execute its code. In the process, a virus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software, core functionality of the system or by corrupting, deleting or destroying data.

Some of the dangerous Viruses are, Blaster,Code Red and Creeper.

SPYWARE

Spyware, as its name suggests, is designed to spy on what a user is doing and  collect information and data on the device without user’s knowledge,hiding in backround

 It is unwanted software that infiltrates computing device, stealing internet usage data and sensitive information as mentioned above.

Some types of spyware can install additional software and change the settings on the device. It is always important to use secure passwords and keep devices updated.

Some of the common spyware is, Adware, Trojan, Tracking cookies and system Monitors

WORMS

Worms get their name from the way they infect systems.

A  worm  can self-replicate without a host program and typically spreads without any human interaction or directives from the malware authors.

Starting from one infected machine, they weave their way through the network, connecting to consecutive machines in order to continue the spread of infection. This type of malware can infect entire networks of devices very quickly.

Some of the common worms are, ILOVEYOU, Michelangelo and MSBlast

RANSOMWARE

This type of malware is very dangerous. It encrypts targeted files. Cybercriminals then demand a ransom payment from the victim in exchange for decrypting the system’s dats.

They delete encrypted files if the victim fails to make payment within fixed time say 72 hours.

Also known as scareware, it carries a heavy price. With 500,000 victims, ransomware of different variants made upwards of $30 million in 100 days.

Some of well known ransomware are CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky, TeslaCrypt and CryptoWall.

TROJAN HORSE

Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless. It is  designed to appear as a legitimate program in order to gain access to a system. Once activated following installation, Trojans can execute their malicious functions.

A Trojan is designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or in general inflict some other harmful action on your data or network.

Some of the most common types of Trojan malware are Backdoor Trojan,Fake AV Trojan and Game-thief Trojan

ROOTKIT

A rootkit is a software program designed to provide a user with administrator access to a computer without being detected.Any user can get administrator priveleges to perform activities for which user is not authorised

A rootkit will contain malicious tools, including banking credential stealers, password stealers, keyloggers, antivirus disablers and bots for distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Some of the top rootkit types that can pose threats to enterprises and individuals are Kernel-mode Rootkit,Bootkit and Virtual Rootkit.

Adware, or advertising-supported malware, is a term used to describe unwanted software that displays advertisements on your device. An adware virus is considered a PUP (potentially unwanted program), which means it’s a program that is installed without express permission from the user.

Adware is used to track a user’s browser and download history with the intent to display pop-up or banner advertisements that lure the user into making a purchase.

Example of some adware are Fireball,Appearch and DollarRevenue.

 

KEYLOGGERS

A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and record each keystroke typed on a specific computer’s keyboard.The keystroke loggers are either software programs or hardware devices.

Some types of Keyloggers are API-Based Keyloggers,Grabbing-Based Keyloggers  and Kernel-Based Keyloggers

MALVERTISING

Malvertising (malicious advertising) is the use of online advertising to spread malware.

For example, a cybercriminal might pay to place an ad on a legitimate website. When a user clicks on the ad, code in the ad either redirects them to a malicious website or installs malware on their computer.

References

What is malvertising

The New York Times Online, The London Stock Exchange, Spotify and The Atlantic, all of which have been exposed to malvertising.

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Incidence of Malvertising

Rik Ferguson from Trend Micro described an incident when the New York Times was hosting a banner ad that attempted to social-engineer people into installing a rogue antivirus tool. According to Rik, “the problem may have been ongoing for upwards of 24 hours” before the New York Times noticed the malicious nature of the ad and disabled it.

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Individuals and organizations can minimize their exposure to malvertisements by minimizing their exposure to banner ads. Also, the standard practices for combating social engineering scams, client-side exploits and malware apply when dealing with the threat of malicious ads.

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Mobile malware

Malware can also be found on mobile phones and can provide access to the device’s components such as the camera, microphone, GPS or accelerometer. Malware can be contracted on a mobile device if the user downloads an unofficial application or if they click on a malicious link from an email or text message. A mobile device can also be infected through a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.

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