The 4 Main Types of Malware

Many people know that malware can be harmful to computers, but not many understand just how dangerous it can be and how many forms it can take. Once you have better knowledge of how to spot malware, you will be able to protect yourself from falling victim and keep your digital information safe.

What is Malware?

In essence, malware is a type of malicious software that has the ability of stealing or damaging data that is stored on a device. There are four popular ways that malware can do this, which consist of viruses, worms, spyware and trojan horses. As more and more cybercriminals turn to malware to disrupt critical business information, it’s important to be on the lookout and train employees to know the different types so that they won’t fall victim to harmful traps.

1. The Virus

A computer virus is just as contagious as a medical virus. The most common ways a virus can spread are within a file or email attachment, and once this happens, it can spread to hundreds of employees in just seconds. In order for a virus to work and gain access to your network, it needs a program or software on the device to already be infected. That is why running daily antivirus scans or even better, putting an endpoint security system in place can help prevent a virus from being able to latch onto your device.

2. The Worm

Similar to viruses, worms have the ability to replicate themselves, spreading its infection to other employees rapidly. The most common way for a worm to spread is through a vulnerability in your software or via a phishing attack. If the phishing is executed properly, a worm can go from making your computer slow to completely overloading your web server and bandwidth, stealing all of the data stored onto it. To protect yourself from a worm, it’s important to take a step further than generic virus software, and install a reputable firewall. Having a backup platform installed can also help ensure that if a worm does attack, you will still have access to all of your critical information.

3. The Spyware

Just like a real-life spy, spyware is a sneaky form of malware that watches your online activity so that it can record all of your critical financial and personal information. Spyware’s major goal is to pursue identity theft by gaining as much information in the recording as possible. In addition to endpoint security, one of the best ways to prevent spyware from having access to your credentials, is by mandating multi-factor authentication for company passwords. MFA generates a unique code that is sent individually to a designated phone number. Therefore, even if a hacker knows your password, he or she will not be able to enter the account without the second password which is sent to the designated mobile device.

4. The Trojan Horse

If you are familiar with Greek Mythology, you will know that malware named “Trojan Horse” is nothing positive. This type of malware consists of a malicious program that disguises itself as a safe file. Trojan horse allows a hacker to remotely control your computer to gain financial and personal data. The best way to avoid falling victim to a trojan horse, is to remain wary of any file that is being sent to you, even if it looks harmless. Always be sure to have a security software set up so that if you or an employee does click on a harmful file, your devices will be protected and your data will be safe.

Nutmeg Technologies is an IT managed service provider based out of Windsor, CT. We are happy to assist companies who are looking to have in-office or remote workforce through secure technology. Contact us today to learn which security platform may best benefit your business.