Short for malicious software, you may have heard the term malware used when it comes to computer security. Here at Superfast IT we’ve seen the computer security landscape change drastically over our 15 years experience in IT support, but malware has remained constant. We often get asked, what is malware, where does it come from and how can affect me?
What is Malware and why is it used?
Malware is the generalisation of anything bad when it comes to cyber-attacks such as viruses, Trojan horses and worms. All of those and more get classed as malware which will affect computer software and hardware from performing correctly. Malware can also be used to gain access to data for personal or financial gain when cyber-attacks take place.
Any attack launched on a computer, device or network = Malware
Types of Malware
There are several types of malware, and they come in different shapes and sizes. There are too many different types of malicious software to list every single one so here are some of the main ones;
Worms are one of the oldest forms of malicious software. A worm will replicate itself once it has infected a device to try and affect more devices on that network. The worm attacks in the background usually without any user interaction and will slow machines down.
Much like the famous story Trojan horses in computing disguise themselves as something legitimate but turn out to be malicious. The Trojan horses can get disguised as legitimate software or download that will then infect a device.
Viruses are probably the most well-known form of malware. When something appears to be going wrong on a computer, it often gets mislabelled as a virus. Viruses once on a system will replicate themselves and spread themselves around a network.
Ransomware is a type of malware that effectively holds your computer hostage. The attack will lock you out of your device and usually demand a fee for you to regain access. A famous example of ransomware is the 2017 WannaCry attacks.
When did Malware first start?
Malicious software has been around for decades, and some of its earliest instances can get tracked back to the mid-1980’s. The attacks and viruses back then were completely different to the ones we see today. The most initial malware wasn’t spread online but instead on infected floppy disks usually found in universities. The email boom in the late 1990’s saw more widespread malware attacks than ever before.
If you’re looking to make your business cyber safe, remember to lean on an expert and ask lots of questions. Hopefully we have answered your questions about malware in this article today.
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