5 Common Malware Attacks You Should Know

“Malware” is a term that describes a variety of malicious software or programs intended to damage computers. They can destroy files or, in extreme cases, be a gateway for hackers to spy and steal personal information. 

Malware has evolved significantly throughout the years, taking many forms and causing different problems to unsuspecting users. That’s why experts highly encourage businesses and individuals to know the different types of cyber threats, particularly malware. 

Below is a short yet concise guide to help you identify the most common types of malware attacks to help you out with this. 

1. Viruses

This is the most common malware attack that many people know. Viruses can spread in systems and infect programs. They can delete, corrupt, and encrypt files once they start working in your computer’s system. 

Viruses often spread through websites, email attachments, and file sharing programs, usually attached in an executable file (.exe) or a word document (.doc). Once your computer contracts a virus, it stays dormant until you or a program opens it. When that happens, the virus will replicate immediately and attack.

2. Trojans

This malware pretends to be an authorized or legitimate program or file and attacks once it infiltrates your computer. Unlike viruses, trojans don’t spread but are easily activated since they trick victims into thinking they’re opening the actual software. There are times when trojans work as gateways for hackers to access computers, where they can steal your data or spy on you.

Downloading trojans is likely to happen to victims unaware that such malware can pose as real software. 

3. Worms

Like a virus, worm malware spreads in computers and creates significant damage. Worms can delete files, inject other malicious software, and replicate themselves until the computer crashes. Worms can also be used as a backdoor for hackers to infiltrate your data. 

In extreme cases, worms can spread through networks and disrupt numbers of computers fast and overload web servers everywhere. 

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is a dangerous cyberattack that cripples businesses and individuals today. Hackers encrypt essential files from victims and hold them hostage for ransom. If victims fail to pay, hackers will delete or expose the documents. However, there are times when paying a fee doesn’t even help, and hackers delete the files anyway. 

This threat has recently gained global attention for attacking big corporations and public establishments, like the WannaCry attack in 2017, which damaged companies worldwide. 

5. Spyware

Spyware has long grown out of science fiction and into reality. Hackers use such programs to monitor and record your online activities, like searches and transactions. They can also gather personal information, such as passwords and bank information, which they can later use for malicious acts, like identity theft. Spyware also allows hackers to distribute your personal information to advertisers or other hackers. 

This program often disguises itself as useful freeware with a malicious purpose running in the background that no one notices. 

Protect Your Computer, Protect Yourself

Malware and other cyberattacks continue to evolve. Luckily, advanced countermeasures are widely available to help businesses and individuals worldwide. Antivirus today can detect all existing malware, so you can get one to protect your devices. Of course, it also helps to do counteractive practices like refraining from clicking malicious links, exploring questionable websites, and downloading unknown files. 

Technology is helpful, but in the wrong hands, it can be scary. So always be vigilant. Keep your files and other essential data protected.