Different Types of Malware and How They Can Affect Your Computer

Malware is malicious programs that use your computer in nefarious ways. If that makes malware sound like a supervillain, in many ways it is. It can range from petty mischief that simply overwrites your hard drive, leaving no room for appropriate programming to theft of millions of dollars in cash or information. Identity theft can create disastrous situations for individuals. Backdoor hackers can cost corporations billions.

The creators of malware range from the student who just wants to see if he can break into the school’s records to professional programmers who are in it for the money. Each year brings new malware, new threats and new scares.

Here is the list of “STAR” malware for 2018:

Remote Access to Your Computer

FlawedAmmyy, a remote access Trojan virus, managed to top the list for 2018. Many computers around the world are left turned on 24/7 in order to receive updates to various programs. The programs that will need updates include your antivirus program. This leads to the big question:  do you know what your computer is doing when you are not using it? FlawedAmmyy is based on a legitimate program, Ammyy Admin, designed to help users who need hands-on assistance with their computers. The term “remote access” says it all. Your computer could be doing any number of things while you are not looking if someone else can nip in the backdoor and take over.

Cryptocurrency Mining

Is your computer running slower than it should? Does there seem to be less disk space than expected? Your computer could be someone’s cryptocurrency mining platform – and they aren’t sharing the wealth with you. CoinHive is a major player in this field, using implanted JavaScript programs to skim coins from databases, while you provide the computer. Cryptoloot is a similar program, and is a rival to CoinHive. Neither one is good news for your computer or you. Cryptocurrency mining is a computer resource hog, designed to “mine” blocks in a blockchain for currency. Legitimate crypto mining uses dedicated computers or “rents” space on other people’s computers. These programs use your resources without any payback to you.

Exploit Kits

Exploit kits are far from new, but like cockroaches and fleas, they are persistent survivors. These programs hitchhike onto your computer, look for loopholes, and plug themselves into vacancies in your software. The top two in this area, according to Malwarebytes (a leading antivirus company) is RIG EK and GrandSoft EK.

Mobile Ransomware

This is one of the newer malware tools. A hitchhiking program such as WannaCry or Petya takes over your computer, encrypts your files and demands that you pay up in order to get your files back. Since some of these use military-grade encryption, unlocking your computer is nearly impossible. There is a solution, however. Keep your files backed up, and simply wipe the bad files and reload from the last clean copy of your information.

Malware has been around almost as long as there have been computers. The keys to defeating them are to never download or open files from unknown parties. Keep your software updated regularly. And always, always have a backup copy of everything.

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