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  • Writer's pictureChandni Rijhwani (Bachelor in computer application)

Malware: Behind the Digital Mask


malware

Table of Contents:

  • What is a malware?

  • How many the types of malwares are?

  • What are the safety measures if files are corrupted?

  • Difference between malware and anti-virus?

  • What is the role of VPN in malware?

  • Conclusion

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What is a malware?


Malware is like a computer virus. It can get on your computer or phone from dangerous emails, bad websites, or infected USB drives. Once there, it can cause harm or steal your information. To stay safe, avoid clicking on unknown links or downloading from suspicious sites.


2. How many the types of malwares are?


Here are the major types of malwares:

  1. Viruses: Like a flu for computers. They stick to files, spread around, and may damage or change them.

  2. Worms: Independent bad programs that move from computer to computer on their own, often slowing things down.

  3. Trojan Horses: Pretend to be useful apps, but once you run them, they do harmful things. They won't spread like viruses but can cause other types of damage.

  4. Spyware: Think of it as a sneaky camera on your computer, quietly noting what you do and sometimes stealing personal details.

  5. Adware: Keeps showing you unwanted ads while you're online. Some are just annoying, but others might also act like spyware.

  6. Ransomware: It's like someone locking your computer or files and demanding money to give you back the key.

  7. Rootkits: Master of disguise in your computer. They let others in without you noticing and are hard to find and remove.

  8. Botnets: A group of computers hacked and controlled by one person. These computers can be used for bad tasks like sending junk emails or attacking websites.

  9. Keyloggers: Like someone writing down everything you type, hoping to catch secrets like passwords.

  10. Fileless Malware: Sneaky bad software that hides in places like a computer's memory, avoiding the usual checks.

  11. Mobile Malware: Bad software just for phones or tablets, like harmful apps or tricky messages.

  12. Browser Hijackers: Like someone grabbing your internet steering wheel, taking you places you didn't plan to go.

  13. Logic Bombs: Hidden bad instructions waiting for a sign (like a date) to act up.

3. What are the safety measures if files are corrupted?


If a device is corrupted by software (whether it's a malfunctioning application, an operating system issue, or malware), several steps can be taken to diagnose and potentially resolve the problem. The exact resolution depends on the nature and severity of the corruption. Here's a general approach:


1. Safe Mode:

Safe Mode is like starting your device with training wheels. It uses only the basics, making it easier to spot and fix problems.

  • Windows: Turn your computer off and on. As it starts, tap "F8" (or the key your computer says to use) before you see the Windows logo. Then, pick "Safe Mode."

  • macOS: Turn your computer off and on and press the "Shift" key while it's starting up.

  • Android: How you start Safe Mode can be different for each phone or tablet. Usually, you press two buttons at once, like the volume up and power buttons, while turning it on.

2. Backup Data:

  • If possible, backup essential data to an external drive or cloud storage. This ensures you don't lose critical information if further actions need to be taken, like a factory reset or OS reinstallation.

3. Run Diagnostic Tools:

  • Use built-in diagnostic tools to check the health of your hardware.

    • Windows: "chk dsk" can be used to check and repair disk errors.

    • macOS: Use "Disk Utility" to repair disk permissions and check for disk errors.

4. Antivirus and Antimalware Scans:

  • If you suspect malware, run a full system scan using updated antivirus and antimalware software.

5. Software and Drivers:

  • Uninstall recently installed or updated software or drivers that might be causing the issue.

  • Reinstall necessary drivers from the manufacturer's official website.

6. System Restore or Recovery:

  • Use system restore points (if available) to roll back the system to a state before the corruption occurred.

    • Windows: Use "System Restore."

    • macOS: Use "Time Machine" backups if set up previously.

7. Operating System Repair or Reinstallation:

  • If issues persist, consider repairing or reinstalling the operating system.

    • Windows: Use installation media or recovery partitions to perform a repair or fresh installation.

    • macOS: Use macOS Recovery to reinstall the OS.

  • Remember, reinstallation may result in data loss, so ensure you've backed up your data.

8. Factory Reset:

  • For devices like smartphones or tablets, performing a factory reset might be necessary. This will return the device to its original settings and erase all data.

9. Seek Professional Help:

  • If none of the above solutions work, or if you're unsure about any step, it might be best to consult with a professional or the device's manufacturer support.

4. Difference between malware and anti-virus?

difference

"Malware" and "antivirus" are terms that describe two fundamentally different kinds of software, each with a distinct purpose:

Malware:


1. Definition: Malware is a shorthand term for "malicious software." It refers to software designed to harm, exploit, or otherwise perform unauthorized actions on computer systems, networks, or users.

2. Purpose: The primary goal of malware is to compromise the normal functionality of a system, steal information, perform malicious actions, or gain unauthorized access.

3. Types: Malware can take various forms, including viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, rootkits, and more.

4. Origin: Malware can come from various sources, such as malicious websites, email attachments, software downloads from untrustworthy sources, or even infected USB drives.


Antivirus:


1. Definition: Antivirus software is a type of program designed to detect, prevent, and remove malicious software (including malware) from computer systems.

2. Purpose: The primary goal of antivirus software is to protect a computer system from threats by scanning for, identifying, and removing or quarantining potential threats before they can cause harm.

3. Features: Apart from detecting and removing malware, modern antivirus solutions may offer other features, such as:

  • Real-time protection

  • Firewall integration

  • Phishing protection

  • Behavior-based detection (heuristics)

  • System optimization tools

4. Updates: To remain effective, antivirus software requires regular updates. These updates provide the software with the latest definitions or signatures of known malware to ensure the software can identify and combat the latest threats.


5. What is the role of VPN in malware?

vpn

A VPN is like a secret tunnel for your data on the internet. It helps keep your online actions private and secure. Here's how it helps with malware and online dangers:


1. Safer on Public Wi-Fi:

  • Using Wi-Fi at places like cafes can be risky. Bad people can trick you into connecting to fake Wi-Fi spots to steal your data. A VPN makes your data hard to read, so it's safer.

2. Blocks Bad Websites:

  • Some VPNs can stop you from visiting harmful websites that might try to trick you or harm your device.

3. Hides Where You Are:

  • With a VPN, bad people can't easily target you based on where you live.

4. Keeps Your Actions Private:

  • A VPN makes it hard for others to see what you're doing online.

5. Stops Your Internet Company from Snooping:

  • Sometimes, the company you get internet from might try to show you ads or track what you do. A VPN stops them from seeing your data.

But Remember:

  • A VPN isn't magic. It doesn't stop you from accidentally downloading bad files or clicking on tricky links. Always be careful!

  • Not all VPNs are good. Some might spy on you or not work well. Choose a well-known one.

6. Conclusion

conclusion

Malware is the tech world's troublemaker, from viruses to ransomware. As we dive deeper into the digital age, these problems grow smarter and trickier. To keep our computers and data safe, we need a strong defense, kind of like putting a sturdy lock on our devices. It's also vital to regularly update our software; think of it as giving our computers a shield against new threats. Everyone should also educate themselves about these tech dangers and always be cautious online. In today's connected world, we all have to team up and be on guard against these digital pests.


7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

faq

Q1. What should I do if my computer is infected?

Ans: If infected, disconnect from the internet, backup important data if possible, run a thorough scan using antivirus software, and consider seeking professional help. Avoid paying ransoms in the case of ransomware attacks, as payment doesn't guarantee recovery.


Q2. Are free antivirus solutions enough to protect me?

Ans: While free antivirus solutions can offer basic protection, they might lack advanced features or real-time protection. For comprehensive security, consider investing in a reputable, premium antivirus product.


Q3. How can I protect myself from malware?

Ans: Adopting safe browsing habits, regularly updating software, using strong and unique passwords, avoiding suspicious downloads or email attachments, and installing reputable antivirus or antimalware software are key protective measures.


Q4. Is my smartphone at risk of malware?

Ans: Yes, while traditionally PCs were the primary target, smartphones, particularly Android devices, have become increasingly vulnerable to malware, especially through malicious apps.

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