According to forcepoint.com, Malware is a collective name for a number of malicious software variants such as viruses, ransomware, spyware. The name Malware is short for malicious software, Malware has actually been a threat to individuals and organisations since the early 1970s when the Creeper virus first appeared.
How did they get into the system?
Normally, malware would need to enter the system environment before any damage could be done. Here is a list of access for malware
- Instant Messenger applications
- Removable devices
- Email attachment
- Untrusted software, freeware, game
- Shrink-wrapped software packaged by an attacker
Besides access the system, malware could also be hidden in many different online sources waiting for their victims to make the wrong move.
- Malware pages
- Compromised legitimate websites
Some types of Malware
It is important to learn what malware is out there wreaking havoc on the world just so your chance of survival will be more than 0%.
As its name suggests, spyware is designed to spy on the user’s actives while hiding in the system. The malware would then proceed with data collection such as credit card details, password or other sensitive information would be used for blackmail.
Example: Keyloggers is software designed to secretly monitor and log all keystrokes. The program itself is not a threat to the system but the information it collected and sent to cybercriminals can cause a lot of damage. For further information about the keyloggers as well as damage, keyloggers can bring, I suggest you have a read HERE.
The earliest and most common type of malware, viruses attach malicious code to clean code and wait for users or an automated process to execute them. Due to its nature of spreading quickly and widely while causing damage to systems, files or even locking users out of their device, the name viruses suit the malware perfectly. Another version of virus called worm which could infect systems on a network without user action
Creeper was the first computer virus created by one of the pioneers in packet switching networks such as ARPANET and the internet. Creeper was a worm-a type of computer virus that replicates itself and spread to other systems. Creeper was not a malicious virus as displaying its enigmatic message is the only function.
Also known as scareware, ransomware comes with a heavy price. The malware can lock down servers, networks or users out of their system until a ransom is paid. Crypto-Malware, Another form of ransomware demand payment in cryptocurrency which allows the attackers to leave no traces behind.
Example: Kaseya VSA Ransomware. The attack started by REvil which take control over the VSA service of Kaseya’s office in Florida. While the business needs to shut down their server and trying to fix the security hole, the end-users of Kaseya was the main target. It is estimated 30 IT businesses and over 1000 end-users got lock out of their system until they pay REvil for their data.
The malware got its name from the famous Greek story Trojan horse which the soldiers hid in the giant horse and attack after successful enter the inner-city and lead to the downfall of the city of Troy. Trojan works the same way by disguising as legitimate software or providing some functionalities to users before breaching the security and creating a backdoor for a future attack. Another form of Trojan is RAT(Remote access Trojan or remote administration tools) which give a remote user control over an infected system.
While it seems like everything is out to attack you, there are many options to protect your data and yourself
The anti-virus and security software is always available and some come with free prices tag (“Yes there is no free lunch but at least you know what spying on you”). It is also important to update the software regularly to keep up with the latest malware and scan your devices on daily or weekly basics.
Firewall and whitelisting
Seem like the oldest trick in the book but trust me, the firewall is working and it probably protects you and your data more time than you think it did. Further, whitelisting your trusted software allows the system to block the unauthorised program as well as hidden spyware. Those features are available for free on Windows.
DEP and ASLR
Data Loss Risk Mitigation
There is no perfect security but that is what plan B is for. Here is some backup option to protect your data.
Disaster Recovery Plan
It is a formal document created by the organisation that contained the instruction on how to respond to unplanned incidents in order to minimise the effects of a disaster.
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is the configuration that employs the techniques of striping, mirroring, or parity to create reliable data stores. Depend on the budget and purpose of storage, different RAID options are available but here is the most common choice for RAID:
- RAID 0 striping
- RAID 1 mirroring
- RAID 5 distributed parity
- RAID 6 dual parity
- RAID 10 striping of mirrors
File backup occurs when you store copies of your system and personal files on a hard drive or external data source. There are many options when it comes to backup:
- The backup setting for Windows allows choosing an internal or external drive to back up the system data
- Software products like Kaspersky Total Security which provide security options against Malware as well as back up credential information
- Backup services like iDrive, SOS Online Backup copy files to the cloud supported by specialised software or generic cloud solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple Cloud.
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