“Malware” is any software that is created to cause destructive effects on a computer or system or steal information or cause loss of data against the users wishes.
This includes viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware amongst others.
Malware is created by hackers and is usually intended to deliberately cause damage or to make money in some way. But it is also used by subversive governments for attacking other countries infrastructure and accessing secrets. Sometimes businesses use malware to spy on others.
There is a wide variety of malware, including:-
- Viruses: These attach themselves to clean files and infect other clean files. They can spread uncontrollably, making computers unstable and unusable and sometimes deleting or corrupting files.
- Trojans: This kind of malware is usually hidden in what appears to be legitimate software. Typically it creates a back door entry to a system for the hacker who created it.
- Spyware: Used to spy on the opposition – whether that’s another country, person or organisation. This malware usually hides and operates in the background, periodically sending back data to its owner.
- Worms: This type of software is designed to infect entire networks of devices, either in one data centre local or across the internet, by using network interfaces. It uses each consecutively infected machine to infect others.
- Ransomware: This kind of malware typically locks down your computer and your files,, then threatens to erase everything unless you pay a ransom (usually in Bitcoin).
How to protect against malware
- Install anti-virus and anti-malware software or service on all of your computing devices and networks. E.g. AVAST, McAfee, Malwarebytes etc.
- Don’t give out lots of personal information on web sites, social media etc, and do not trust people you have never met unless you have checked on them.
- Always virus scam anything you download and avoid torrents and similar.
- Get an ad-blocker! To stop unexpected adverts appearing that may contain malware or lead to a site containing malware.
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