Saturday, January 7, 2012

Internet Security Threats: Malware

Without the consideration of mobile phones and mobile chatting platforms, an average individual spends on average 720 hour per year using the internet. Each and every minute of this time he is subject to the risk of getting infected with a Malware. I will hereby explain the different type of Malware hoping that you never face such a threat.

Malware is short for "malicious software". It is a variety of hostile, intrusive, or annoying computer program that's designed to exploit or infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent.
Malware include: Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, Backdoors, Root kits, Browser Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Botnets, keystroke Loggers, and Rouge (Fake Apps).
Computer Virus
A computer virus is a program that affects mainly your operating system, some compromise your boot records making your computer start and run very slowly or even not boot at all, some are there just to annoy the user by disabling: task manager, desktop wallpaper, RegEdit, and stops or defect your antivirus program.
Similar to a biological virus, computer viruses need human action to initiate them, so we find them attached to executables files "exe, vbs etc… “dressed as an innocent sheep in order to tempt the user to double-click "run" that file.
Computer Worm
Technically a worm is like a computer virus, they have the ability of spreading and replicating but on a much larger scale. But unlike a virus the worm doesn't need human intervention to lunch itself which makes it more dangerous.
This means that blindly downloading email attachments or clicking the links "friends" share with you isn't recommended.
Worms have the ability to scan networks for security loop holes and then they copy themselves into new machines. Worms cause drastic harm to the network by consuming bandwidth.
Trojan Horse
Trojans are my favorite, I used to goof around with my friends using them couple of years ago, a Trojan horse is a program that pretends to do certain "fun" things in foreground, but in reality they are working silently in the background. This type of malware collects passwords, steal valuable information and can even give the perpetrator full access to your system.
Trojan horses infect your pc mainly when you download cracked applications, software serial codes, keys, free illegal pirated software or music especially from unknown / un trusted sources.
Spyware is a software that is installed on your computer and doesn't particularly harm your computer but they definitely harm you! These malicious programs record your activity and preferences; "username and passwords, credit card numbers, important files, and much other personal stuff. The recorded data is then used for targeted advertising or even identity theft.
Spyware is so common that more than 85% of internet connected PCs are infected with one or more of these programs. An obvious consequence of spyware is your slow internet connection, because while you are surfing, this malware is busy collecting and sending information to ad companies, who then target you with popup ads that fit your preferences.
Any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer after the software is installed or while the application is being used.
Browser Hijacker
Browser hijacker is a malicious program that embeds itself deeply into the browser code and core functionality, it replaces the browser home page with its own page and enforces every hit on that browser to a particular website.
And they are very annoying and hectic to remove!
Keystock Loggers
Keystock loggers are types of malware which create profits by stealing valuable information. This malware has the ability to record your keyboard usage and logs your typing and then sends the collected data to its creator. "Imagine yourself typing a password or a credit card number etc…"
Rootkits are programs that are designed to gain root or "administrator" access to your computer. These programs are designed to hide files, processes or windows registry entries. By themselves rootkits are not malware; instead they are the programs that help hide the malware. The rootkit usually comes along with an attached Trojan or Virus or Keylogger
Rootkits do not show up as an icon, do not appear in windows system tray, and do not appear in windows task manager.
In conclusion, I'm pretty certain that every "Online User" has already encountered a problem with at least one of these malwares.
My next post will be about Anti-Malware or as people know it (Anti-virus)

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this important information. hope to learn more about how to get protected against these threats. keep up the good work