Malware, short for malicious software, is a blanket term for viruses, worms, trojans and other harmful computer programs hackers use to wreak destruction and gain access to sensitive information.
Ransomware is a malicious software that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way that is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, which encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
A computer virus is a type of malware that propagates by inserting a copy of itself into and becoming part of another program. It spreads from one computer to another, leaving infections as it travels. Viruses can range in severity from causing mildly annoying effects to damaging data or software and causing denial-of-service (DoS) conditions. Almost all viruses are attached to an executable file, which means the virus may exist on a system but will not be active or able to spread until a user runs or opens the malicious host file or program. When the host code is executed, the viral code is executed as well. Normally, the host program keeps functioning after it is infected by the virus. However, some viruses overwrite other programs with copies of themselves, which destroys the host program altogether. Viruses spread when the software or document they are attached to is transferred from one computer to another using the network, a disk, file sharing, or infected email attachments.
- Virus’ main purpose is in modifying information.
- Virus is not remote-controllable.
Computer worms are similar to viruses in that they replicate functional copies of themselves and can cause the same type of damage. In contrast to viruses, which require the spreading of an infected host file, worms are standalone software and do not require a host program or human help to propagate. To spread, worms either exploit a vulnerability on the target system or use some kind of social engineering to trick users into executing them. A worm enters a computer through a vulnerability in the system and takes advantage of file-transport or information-transport features on the system, allowing it to travel unaided. More advanced worms leverage encryption, wipers, and ransomware technologies to harm their targets.
The greatest danger with a worm is its ability to reproduce itself on your machine, so it could send hundreds or thousands of copies of itself, rather than your computer sending out a single worm, causing a massive devastating effect.
4) Trojan horse
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A Trojan is another type of malware named after the wooden horse that the Greeks used to infiltrate Troy. It is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems. After it is activated, it can achieve any number of attacks on the host, from irritating the user (popping up windows or changing desktops) to damaging the host (deleting files, stealing data, or activating and spreading other malware, such as viruses). Trojans are also known to create backdoors to give malicious users access to the system. Unlike viruses and worms, Trojans do not reproduce by infecting other files nor do they self-replicate. Trojans must spread through user interaction such as opening an email attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet.
A Trojan Horse is capable of just as much trickery as it was called after the mythological Trojan Horse. The Trojan Horse will appear to be useful software at first glance but will do damage once it has been installed or running on your computer. Those on a Trojan Horse’s receiving end are usually tricked into opening them because they seem to receive legitimate software or files from a legitimate source.