In an attempt to master the art of blogging and keep it interesting at the same time! I decided to start blogging for the “FEAR AND LOATHING” section. Inspired by Mr. Lockman’s lecture on wednesday I thought to blog on Malware. This I thought would help enlighten me about them and perhaps even help someone who might do doing the group presentation on malware! Or just for common knowledge..!
Some General Facts on Malware:
- 97% of all mails are spam.
- The global average for malware infection is 8.6 out of every 1000 systems. ( This is a surprisingly lower number than what was expected).
- Russia and Brazil are the countries that are most affected.
- Statistics show that people who are victim to malware also mugged in real life!
- Malware did not bring down a passenger jet.
The different types of Malware and what they do:
- Adware: a program whose main purpose is to present you with advertising – usually in the form of pop-up windows. Adware can slow down your PC because it uses memory and processing cycles. It can also corrupt your PC due to its poor programming. Often adware also includes spyware
- Bot: short for robot, a bot is a program that allows a hacker to remotely control and command your PC – turning it into a “zombie PC.” Your PC will be used to disable legitimate websites, hack into other PCs, or send thousands of spam emails. Anti-virus and anti-spyware software often do a poor job of detecting and removing bots because bots are easy to create and distribute.
- Data miner: a small program whose function is to gather data about you. Some data miners act much like spyware.
- Dialer: a program designed to hijack your modem and connect to a toll (900) or long-distance phone number. Dialers are usually used by pornographic vendors. Dialers can ad huge charges to your phone bill.
- Keylogger: a program whose main purpose is to monitor the keystrokes on your PC to capture information like bank account numbers and passwords, and then send the information back to the originator. Since keyloggers need to “phone home,” the proper use of a firewall can help prevent any damage from a keylogger until you can eradicate it.
- Spyware: a program whose main purpose is to collect and share personal information about you – such as your email addresses or websites you’ve visited. Your personal information is then shared with advertisers and other interested companies.
- Trojan horse: a program that often appears harmless, but is very destructive when executed. A trojan horse can corrupt your data files or steal your passwords, disable your security software, steal your files, capture your keystrokes, randomly delete files on your PC, and completely take over your PC. A Trojan can get installed on your PC in many ways: via an email attachment, attached to downloaded game or software, or just from visiting a website!
- Virus: a small program that attaches to a file and corrupts it. A virus must be attached to a file or email in order to spread. Some viruses are programmed to delete files, damage programs, or even reformat the hard disk. Others are less malicious, but all viruses take up system resources such as memory and may eventually cause your PC to lose data, crash, or act erratically.
- Worm: special kind of virus that can replicate and use memory, and can spread to other computers without having to be attached to a file or email.
Keeping Safe From Malware
- Install a security software.
- Do not download stuff from websites that you are not sure of.
- Be cautious before clicking on any links (especially via email) unless you know where the link is leading you.
- Ensure your system is always up-to date as the malware creators always find a loophole and being up to date makes it a bit difficult for them.