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Malware is malicious software that is designed to run for the benefits of the program designer other than the benefit of the computer owner. There are many types of malware and with most of them, you might never know you have them until you install a good antivirus program. The main sign of a malware on your computer is when the computer starts acting in a strange way. This happens because malware takes up processing power, accesses the Internet connection and can help hackers gain access to your files. Here are some of the most common malware.

Virus

This is the best-known type of malware. It was actually the only form of malware originally. The distinctive feature of viruses is that they can replicate themselves and spread not just on the infected computer but on other devices. Associated files act as transport mechanism where for example a music file copied to a memory card or USB stick will infect any computer the file is viewed or copied on. The most common form of virus infection is via illegal copying.

Worm

The worm is similar to the virus only that unlike the virus that attaches itself to other programs, the worm is basically an independent process. It creates background processes. A worm will also infect a network and not just an individual computer. It is also possible for infected emails to be sent out as worms. The only way to deal with a worm is to install an antivirus system to trap the worms. Worms are mostly spread via email because they are blocked off by the firewalls. Be very careful online even if your Internet provider Cambridge guarantees online security.

Trojan

The Trojan horse is the biggest method of delivering malware today. Trojans are so effective because they advertise themselves as useful programs. They can be in the form of file space cleaner or a program for speeding up your computer. At times you will get a useful tool which at the same time infects your computer. Trojans are simply delivery systems. Harm is caused by ‘payload’. A payload is a program that causes harm to your computer such as giving hackers a backdoor to your system. The best way to deal with Trojan horses is to be careful before downloading any program.

Rootkit

This is more of a security system for the malware on your system. It protects malware on your computer by gaining escalated privileges deep into your computer’s operating system. Some will make it hard to uninstall the malware. The only solution is to reinstall the whole operating system.

Spyware

The purpose of this malware is to steal data and to report activities on your computer. There are innumerable spyware programs out there and they also infect tablets and phones. Most spyware programs are designed to acquire your login credentials as well as financial data.

Adware

This operates through the web browser. The objective is to force you to view adverts that earn the hacker money.

Ransomware

This is a new form of malware that has gained lots of media attention lately. It locks your computer files and demands you to pay a ransom in Bitcoin for the files to be released. If you don’t pay, your files will be leaked.

Botware

This is a malware used to give hackers access to your computer. Hackers use the processing power of your computer to launch other attacks. Your computer is hence used as a ‘zombie’.

There are many types of malware. The key is to install a good antivirus system and be wary of what you download from the Internet.

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