Malware is one of the most common forms of cyberattack that hackers use to threaten organizations and individuals. In a broader sense, malware is malicious software that can monitor activity or perform unauthorized changes to your devices or network. Cybercriminals use malware to extort, disrupt your business operations, and even take control over your system and devices. All of which can lead to catastrophic consequences for your business.
Malware exists in multiple forms, and hackers find new sophisticated ways of spreading harmful software.
In this guide, we will explore the most common forms of malware. Being aware of types of malware will lay a solid foundation for protecting yourself and your website from attack.
Virus. Computer viruses are arguably the most common form of malware as everyone is susceptible to infection. Viruses work by replicating themselves and adding their code to existing programs, files, or folders in a computer or network. Viruses are harmful as they erase or corrupt files, and other dangerous forms can even change a computer’s security settings making it hard to get rid of them.
Installing anti-virus software will scan your website for malware and irregularities regularly to ensure your website is safe. We offer automated built-in protection malware detection in our hosting plans to protect against virus attacks ensure your web users have a secure browsing experience.
Worms. Just like viruses, the worm spreads from one device to another. However, worms are different in that they activate themselves. As a result, they exploit vulnerabilities in your system to worm their way around and cause severe damage.
The best protection is using a firewall to control, monitor, and prevent such automated attacks.
Ransomware. Ransomware is a method of extortion where cybercriminals gain access to your devices or website and lock you out. Typically, it encrypts the data and demands payment in exchange for access. Depending on the extent of the data breach, it has the potential of crippling your business and reputation.
You can protect yourself from ransomware by taking regular comprehensive backups of your site so that you can restore your site in case anything occurs.
Adware. It is harmful software that displays unwanted ads or pop-ups on your screen. They show up on your devices’ screen, asking you to update software that you are not conversant with or informing you of a perceived error. They work by redirecting search requests to malicious sites. Be wary of clicking ads and banners that you are unsure of, as cybercriminals use them to steal crucial data from your device.
Spyware. It is software that hides on your device, monitors your activity, and collects crucial information, such as passwords, credit card details, etc. Spyware usually spreads by hiding inside other existing software or by copying it to your website. It allows hackers to observe your activities without your knowledge or authorization. Cybercriminals use spyware to monitor private conversations and web activity to blackmail you.
Trojan Horses. A trojan is a type of malware that hackers use to gain access to devices. The malicious code disguises harmful files as harmless or legitimate, which attackers then use to access the backend of your site. Typically, they hide in PDFs, office documents, plugins, or website themes.
Exercise caution when downloading and installing files. Plus, it is always better to use programs from reputable sources to avoid risking your site.
While we have covered some common types of malware, this list is not comprehensive. Stay vigilant and educate yourself continually on other types of malware, as it will help you prepare yourself in case of new, emerging threats.