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November 27, 2019

What Is Malware, and How Do I Get It?

computer with malware showing virus and lock symbol

Understanding Malware and How It’s Downloaded

Your computer has been running really slow lately, and pop-ups are polluting your screen. Suddenly, it crashes for no reason. What’s causing your computer to act out? The answer: Malware. 

 

What Is Malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to damage your computer, server, or network. It can show up in many different forms; however, there are 9 kinds of malware that are the most common:

  1. Virus. The most common type of malware, a virus is a piece of code that is able to copy itself and infect programs on your computer. Viruses target specific files to destroy your data.
  2. Worm. This standalone computer program replicates itself and uses the computer network to spread to other computers. Worms cause harm to the network as a whole rather than individual files.
  3. Trojan Horse. Appearing as a legitimate program, trojan horses are programs that hackers use to gain access to a user’s system. Once downloaded, trojan horses give cyberthieves access to alter your data. 
  4. Spyware. This software sneaks into your computer and steals your internet usage data and personal information. It shares the data with spyware gatherers who sell your information.
  5. Ransomware. Blocking access to your computer system, this malware refuses to give back access to your system until you have paid a certain amount of money. 
  6. Rootkit. This collection of computer software gives an unauthorized user access to your computer system. The user is then able to gain control of your system without the software being detected. 
  7. RAT. Downloaded invisibly, RATs give intruders administrative control to do just about anything on your computer. This includes accessing personal information, recording a webcam, deleting files, and more.
  8. Adware. This unwanted software is designed to serve you advertisements whenever you’re using your internet browser. When downloaded, these programs carry out all sorts of unwanted tasks.
  9. Keyloggers. Often referred to as keyboard capturing, keyloggers record the action of every key pressed on the keyboard. This gives hackers the ability to collect passwords and other confidential information.

Pro Tip

At Computer PROS, we’ve had a lot of customers come in with malware-infected computers. Here are some things that happen when a computer has malware:

  1. The computer runs slow
  2. The computer crashes regularly
  3. Random programs open and close on their own
  4. There is less space on the computer than there should be
  5. The modem and hard drive work double time without any programs running
  6. The computer is plagued with pop-ups, free applications, and other unwanted programs
  7. Our customers’ friends receive messages from our customers that they didn’t send

 

 

How Do I Get Malware On My Computer?

Envelope with computer bug hidden in files

Just like there are different kinds of malware, there are different ways that these softwares can find their way onto your computer. These ways include:

  1. Infected USB drives or external hard drives
  2. Bundled software
  3. Hacked web pages
  4. Spammy emails
  5. Tech support scams

Pro Tip

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Hackers and cyberthieves are troublemakers – they get a kick out of terrorizing your system, stealing your information, and picking your virtual pockets. If you get a surprise call from tech support or a popup that requires you to put in your credit card information right then and there, it’s a sign that something’s not right. We talk about this more in our article, Tech Support Scams 101. Check it out to learn how you can identify illegitimate support.

computer with popup ads covered by no symbol

 

 

Trust Computer PROS IT Professionals

Do you suspect that malware is affecting your computer? Bring your computer into our store for a diagnosis, and we’ll take care of it for you! Schedule your appointment online or give us a call at 615-303-8200, and we’ll get our tools ready to remove the malware from your computer.

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