The Significance of Malware as a Cybersecurity Threat
The term “malware” has become familiar to computer users, although it signifies a troubling reality. Coined in the 1990s, malware combines the words “malicious” and “software” and refers to harmful programs designed to cause damage to systems and gain unauthorized access to confidential data. These threats are widespread and pose an increasingly serious cybersecurity risk.
Understanding Common Types of Malware
Over time, hackers have developed various types of malware, and it is essential to be aware of these threats and how they operate to ensure adequate protection.
- Viruses: Similar to human viruses, computer viruses infect systems when users unwittingly open nefarious files. Once activated, the virus replicates and attaches itself to other programs, spreading across networks and causing widespread damage.
- Spyware: Spyware infiltrates systems through legitimate file downloads and stealthily monitors and reports confidential data such as passwords, account names, and banking details to external sources. Sluggish computer performance may indicate a spyware infection.
- Adware: Adware manifests as annoying pop-up ads that appear during computer usage. These ads often offer false alerts about infections or fake prizes. Adware typically emerges after downloading from unsecured websites, and clicking on these ads can lead to further malicious actions.
- Ransomware: Ransomware attacks have surged in recent years, particularly with the rise of cryptocurrencies. This type of malware freezes networks or encrypts data until the victim pays a ransom. Refusal to comply often results in the deletion of the hostage data.
- Botware: Botware immobilizes computers by inundating them with denial-of-service attacks. It causes excessive CPU usage, leading to a noticeable increase in electricity consumption.
The Emergence of Malvertising
In addition to the aforementioned malware types, malvertising has emerged as a notable threat. Malvertising leverages legitimate advertisements to distribute malware through auto-redirecting ads. When encountering these ads, users unknowingly end up on phishing websites.
Malvertisers target larger ad networks due to their high ad volume, as it becomes challenging for networks to scrutinize every single ad for potential infiltration. Exploiting this vulnerability, malvertisers clandestinely insert encrypted code into ads to install more dangerous malware within victims’ networks.
Protecting Against Malware
While eradicating malware entirely is impractical due to constant development, staying protected requires vigilance and prudence in online activities. To learn more about malware and safeguard your business against it, feel free to contact us. We offer comprehensive insights into online threats, conduct employee training, and fortify defenses against various forms of malware.