Viruses, Trojans, and Worms… Oh, My!!
The world is an imperfect place! Not just for humans, but for computers as well. In this day and age, it is almost impossible to use your computer without the risk of some sort of threat. Whether that threat is hackers, thieves or the NSA.
With such threats as these becoming an ever present reality, it is now more important than ever to protect your computer with adequate security software to prevent or reduce the risk of Malware. Makers of this type of software include Trend Micro, Kaspersky, Symantec and McAfee just to name a few. All of the above-mentioned companies have paid-for products, but there is also a slew of free products readily available online. But when choosing a product, remember: “You Get What You Pay For”. My recommendation would be to purchase your security software for greater peace of mind. If the product is free, then it can’t be the best there is. But, that is a matter of personal opinion.
With all of this having been said, you’re probably wondering what the heck malware is. Well, let’s get to it.
According to the fine folks over at Merriam-Webster, malware is “software designed to interfere with a computer’s normal functioning”. There are several types of malware: viruses, Trojans, worms, ransomware, adware and probably a few others. Here, I will give you a description of what I have listed.
A virus is a piece of code or a program, that is capable of copying itself and typically has an adverse effect on your computer. Some of these effects could include destroying data, corrupting the master boot record (MBR) which prevents your computer from properly booting up. Viruses are often disguised as photos, sound files, video clips or documents. They are generally spread by email attachments and downloads from the Internet. They can be hidden in programs that you download.
There are a wide variety of Trojans that are currently in circulation. In general, what a Trojan does is create a “backdoor” to your computer that would allow a malicious user to exploit or steal your information. This is done by granting remote access to your computer. The possibilities are endless once a Trojan is on your computer. It could be the digital equivalent of handing your house keys to a random stranger on the street!
A worm is a program that can replicate itself and spread to other computers. This is generally done through a network such as a corporate network. Most worms are spread via email but can also be spread through chat programs or file-sharing programs. How can a worm harm you? Worms can exploit issues with network configurations or exploit security holes in operating systems. Many use more than one method to spread.
This type of malware does just as the name implies. It holds your computer for ransom. Ransomware will lock your computer or encrypt your hard drive until a specific amount of money is paid to the offending party. This type of malware is generally known to affect consumer computers, but variations have been known to affect business computers as well.
Again, just as the name implies. Adware is typically used to track your Internet usage and bombard you with unwanted advertisements. More of a nuisance than anything else. However, I would not minimize the effect that adware can have on your computer. As with all the other types, the performance of your computer can be drastically affected by the presence of one or more of the threats discussed.
As you can see, there are numerous types of threats just waiting for you to let them in! This is just the tip of the iceberg. As I suggest to all our clients, purchase a reputable security software program and your chances of infection are greatly reduced!
For more information regarding this article or any technical issue, feel free to contact us! We look forward to hearing from you!
Author: Michael Collazo
Michael is an IT Professional with over 20 years of experience including Network Administration, Software Development, and Web Design.