We’ve all heard of malware, but do you know what it actually is? Here’s our guide to different types of malware you may encounter, and ways to fix your PC.
Malware comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Depending on what kind of malware it is, you may find it to be a minor nuisance, or a major security breach. Most fall somewhere in between. By figuring out what kind of malware you have accidentally downloaded, you will be able to figure out better ways to prevent it from happening again. Here’s a quick run-through of your different kinds of malware.
- Viruses – The main point of a virus is to harm or hurt your computer system. They are best prevented by avoiding suspicious email attachments, installing a firewall, and installing a good antivirus program that’s regularly updated. Viruses are still the most common form of malware. Viruses can be used by hackers to attack a business, so make sure that you keep an eye out for suspect activity that could suggest that someone wants to install a virus on your computer.
- Adware – Adware is software that is installed with the sole purpose of advertising sketchy businesses. It’s installed without your consent, and can be a major nuisance. Adware also can be spyware, since many programs will track your internet surfing to target ads to you. Adware can generally be prevented by avoiding downloading 3rd party programs with sketchy reviews, as well as by using an adware blocker.
- Hijackware– This kind of adware subcategory will actually hijack your internet traffic and send you to affiliate sites. Much like most other adware, the best way to avoid this kind of thing from happening to your computer is to use an adware blocker, and to avoid sites that seem like they may pose a security risk to your computer. Make no mistake about it, hijackware is a huge nuisance and can also be a security risk.
- Ransomware – This is a form of malware that combines all the annoyance of adware with all the maliciousness of a virus. It literally shuts down your computer’s ability to do anything other than tell you that you have a virus, and that the only way that you can get rid of the virus is to buy a very pricey piece of software. Newsflash: you don’t need that software to get rid of the ransomware. You need the help of a professional, since the suggested software won’t get rid of the ransomware. Ransomware is best avoided by keeping away from suspect downloads, avoiding strange sites, and having good anti-malware software that keeps on a constant scan.
- Spyware – This kind of malware is all about spying on you, mostly so that the hackers who created the software can profit. It’s illegal, and best avoided with an anti-spyware kit.
Whether you are a single computer user or a business that requires a bunch of server’s worth of data, the best way to avoid malware is to keep your antimalware and antivirus software updated, have a solid firewall, and keep your servers and computers updated and patched. The more prevention you have, the better off you will be.