Imagine sitting at home, watching your favorite TV show when an intruder breaks in. What do you do? Well, if you’re like me, I’d call 911 for help so the police would come and remove the burglar.
But, what if you didn’t see the intruder enter your house? What if he came inside and hid in a place where you couldn’t find him. – And, all the while, he was either stealing your stuff or locking it up, so you couldn’t get to it.
This is what many kinds of malware do.
Computer viruses aren’t what you probably think they are–They’ve changed and are constantly evolving.
There’s no one program that can prevent your network from getting infected. Nor is there one program to get rid of a virus. You must dig deep to manually remove it at its roots. Anti-virus/ anti-malware programs can’t do this.
Your tech needs to get into the computer registry to find the virus and eradicate it. Does he even know how to do this? – Many don’t.
So, what happens is that you think the virus is gone, but it’s not. Today, many sit quietly, moving from computer to computer on your network and infecting them as well. They stay hidden and, all the while, capture confidential data without you knowing it. Some even inject a program that keeps your “backdoor” open so that other viruses can enter.
Malicious viruses aren’t just troubling; they’re deadly parasites!
There Are 4 Types of Malware:
Ransomware is the most visible. It’s a form of malware that infects, locks or takes control of your system and demands a ransom to undo it. Ransomware typically infects your computer with the intention of extorting money from you.
Today ransomware criminals are deleting data rather than holding it hostage. There’s no end in sight for ransomware. It’s such a lucrative endeavor that it will always be a threat.
Ransomware gets installed when you click a malicious email attachment, download infected software and/or you visit a malicious website or link. When your computer system is infected with ransomware, it’s locked down, and your files are encrypted, or you can’t access key features on your computer. The ransomware then activates a pop-up window asking you to pay a ransom to access your files and/or computer. Some disguise themselves as the police or a government agency, saying that your computer system is being locked down due to security reasons and that you must pay a fee to reactivate it.
Believe it or not, ransomware only accounts for 1% of all malware. The reason it’s in the news so much is that it’s visible, unlike other forms of malware that can’t be detected.
Rogue Software (Scareware). This is when you download a bogus software program. It generates pop-ups that look like warnings from Microsoft Windows. The rogue software says it will “clean” your system. When you download it, the malware infects your computer. Scareware infects computers in the following ways. With:
Email scams that look like breaking news alerts or greeting cards.
Advertisements that display a list of threats to generate fear and offer free scans or system clean-ups to remove them.
Fake websites designed to take advantage of software vulnerabilities.
Scams that convince you to uninstall your anti-virus software.
Traditional Malware keeps you from knowing you’re infected, so it can harvest your data and email messages. It can come in the form of worms, viruses, Trojans, adware, and spyware. It steals your confidential data, deletes documents and/or adds software you didn’t approve.
Malware causes harm to your computer and to you as well. It can “spy” on your Internet traffic, monitor your location and capture sensitive information like your credit card numbers. Adware acquires your information and sells it to other criminals.
Worms and viruses are different in that they quickly proliferate and undermine your entire computer system. They also may execute objectionable activities from your computer without you knowing it. A virus or worm can cause significant damage to your computer.
Anti-malware, anti-virus programs should detect and remove malware. But, unfortunately, certain types of malware like spyware can still make it into your computer system.
Rootkits are used by hackers to obtain continual administrator-level access to your network or computer. The cybercriminals install them by stealing your passwords or exploiting your system vulnerabilities without you knowing it.
Rootkits can also deactivate or destroy your anti-malware software making it difficult to track and eliminate. The intrusion is so carefully concealed that even your system administrators don’t know that they’re there.
Rootkits can enter as a Trojan virus and enter as a hidden file along with a legitimate file. It can be in the form of a graphic or application distributed via email. When you click on the program or graphic, the rootkit gets installed on your computer system without your knowledge. Rootkits:
Give the hacker complete backdoor access so that they can falsify or steal documents.
Disguise other forms of malware, like keyloggers that track and record your keystrokes, and access your sensitive data.
Let the hacker use your infected computer, and acts like a zombie computer to attack other computers on your network.
How to tell if an “intruder” has entered your system:
You get an error message saying that “Internet Explorer could not display the page.”
Your web browser freezes, closes or can’t be used.
The homepage of your web browser has changed.
You can’t access security websites.
You get sent to web pages other than the one you were looking for.
You keep getting web-browser popups.
You see weird toolbars at the top of your web browser.
Your computer isn’t running as it should.
Your computer freezes.
There strange icons on your desktop.
Your computer suddenly restarts.
You keep getting error messages.
You can’t get into your Control Panel, Registry Editor, Task Manager, or Command Prompt.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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