Everything You Need to Know About Malware and Microsoft’s Defense

Malware, popular term for malicious software, is a software program designed to damage a user’s computer, a server, or network; or to steal personal or sensitive information of a user or defrauding the user through online scams.

What are Different Types of Malware?

  • Rogue security software: Rogue security software masquerades as legitimate security software or Microsoft Update user interface. Fake alerts scare users into thinking that their computer has been compromised and clicking the suggested link to resolve the issue which instead stealthily   downloads malware to the computer.
  • Password stealers: A password stealer transmits personal information such as user names and passwords that an unsuspicious user enters while browsing the web or using applications on the computer.
  • Keyloggers: A keylogger sends keystrokes or screenshots to an attacker. The information can be then used to ascertain passwords, bank account numbers, or any sensitive information that a user types.
  • Rootkits: A rootkit performs functions that a system administrator cannot easily detect or undo. A rootkit is often installed as part of a bundle of malware, where it hides itself and other malware that performs a more
    dangerous activity.
  • Viruses: Viruses are malware that replicate by infecting other files on the computer, thus allowing the execution of the malware code, and its propagation when those files are activated.
  • Worms: A worm is a self-propagating program that can automatically distribute itself from one computer to another.
  • Trojan horses: A trojan horse is an application that appears legitimate and useful, but performs malicious and illicit activity on an affected computer.
  • Spyware: Spyware collects information, such as the websites that a user visits, without user’s knowledge.

Why is Malware a Serious Problem?

Malware is a common weapon for cyber-criminals against individuals and organizations. Malware writers use constantly evolving techniques to make detecting and removing their software difficult. Often malware are deployed together as part of a large, sophisticated assault to recruit vulnerable computers into botnets. Botnets are attractive to criminals because they are easy to hide behind. Botnets harness the processing power, storage, and bandwidth of attacked computers to generate vast amounts of spam, hack websites, and commit online frauds.

Published by

Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.