‌Malware

Malware, also known as Malicious Software, is software designed to cause damage to data, software or hardware. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.

Types of Malware

  • Worms
    Worms are designed to make copies of themselves and work as a standalone application. 
    Worms spread or "worm" their way through network making their way to an unaffected computer where it will make copies of itself and then spread through the network again. 
    Worms can cause harm to data or be used to install onto a computer. Even the most the harmless worms can cause many problems due to the amount of network bandwidth that they can take up causing whole networks of computers to run slow. 
  • Computer Virus
    A virus is a program written to enter into your computer and damage/alter your files/data. A virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer. Viruses can also replicate themselves. A computer Virus is more dangerous than a computer worm as it makes changes or deletes your files while worms only replicate itself without making changes to your files/data.
  • Trojan Horse
    A Trojan or Trojan Horse gets its name from the famous subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy as it disguises itself as a legitimate computer programme but behind the scenes, it is causing damage. 
    A Trojan Horse can cause damage in a number of different ways, they can be allowing someone else to gain access to your computer, monitoring keystrokes on your computer to gather passwords, copy/deleting files and data or using email software to pass itself onto other computers like worms. 
    Some Trojan Horse viruses can be very destructive and can even destroy/delete whole computers of their data. 
    The best way to protect from a Trojan Horse is to never install software that is not legitimate or from a legitimate source.

Spyware

Spyware is a type of malware that's hard to detect. It collects information about your surfing habits, browsing history, or personal information (such as credit card numbers), and often uses the Internet to pass this information along to third parties without you knowing. Keyloggers are a type of spyware that monitors your keystrokes.

Some forms of Spyware is used to put pop-up ads on your computer to advertise certain products or websites.

Common Symptoms of Spyware 

If your computer is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have spyware:

  • Random advertisements that pop up on your computer
  • Unusual slowness of your system
  • Unusual instability in your system (computer crashes more than usual)
  • Odd behaviour in Internet Explorer or other browsers, such as re-direction to search sites that you've never seen, or your homepage has been switched to a different page.

Major Sources of Spyware

Below is a list of known/common software(s) that are Spyware:

  • KaZaa
  • Gator
  • Morpheus
  • Most web search toolbars (except the Google toolbar)
  • Most pop-up blocking software (except the Google toolbar or built-in pop-up blockers in browsers)
  • Download accelerators or managers
  • There are many other sources of spyware. We recommend only installing programs from reputable companies and only if the software is necessary. If a website asks to install software on your computer, always click "no" unless you know specifically what it does.

 

How do I remove Malware and Spyware?

Information Solutions and Services recommends the following spyware detection and removal programs:

Spybot - Instructions to download and install Spybot

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal (M.S.R.) Tool - Instructions to download and install M.S.R. Tool

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - Instructions to download and install Malwarebytes 

Malware and Spyware - Phishing


What is Malware?

Malwarealso known as Malicious Software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The term is a portmanteau of the words malicious and software. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. Many computer users are unfamiliar with the term, and often use " computer virus" for all types of malware.

What is Spyware?

Spyware is usually advertising software that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge. Companies use it to pop up advertisements on your computer, track your Internet usage, and gather other personal information about you. These programs are usually not written very well and tend to cause a lot of problems.

Besides invading your privacy, these programs often cause problems with Internet Explorer and other web browsers. If you have a lot of spyware on your computer, chances are that one of these programs has affected your Internet browsing capabilities.

Common Symptoms of Spyware

If your computer is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have spyware:

  • Random advertisements that pop up on your computer
  • Unusual slowness of your system
  • Unusual instability in your system (computer crashes more than usual)
  • Odd behaviour in Internet Explorer or other browsers, such as re-direction to search sites that you've never seen, or your homepage has been switched to a different page.

Major Sources of Spyware

The following programs are either spyware themselves or spyware is installed along with the program.

  • KaZaa
  • Gator
  • Morpheus
  • Most web search toolbars (except the Google toolbar)
  • Most pop-up blocking software (except the Google toolbar or built in pop-up blockers in browsers)
  • Download accelerators or managers
  • There are many other sources of spyware. We recommend only installing programs from reputable companies and only if the software is necessary. If a website asks to install software on your computer, always click "no" unless you know specifically what it does.

How do I remove Spyware?

Information Solutions and Services recommends the following spyware detection and removal programs:

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files unless a ransom is paid.

One step on from Ransomware is crypto-ransomware,  which encrypts certain file types on infected systems and forces users to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key.

Visit the Microsoft website here for more information

How Does Ransomware Get on a Machine / Device

Ransomware can get on a PC from nearly any source that any other malware (including viruses) can come from. This includes:

  • Visiting unsafe, suspicious, or fake websites.
  • Opening emails and email attachments from people you don’t know, or that you weren’t expecting.
  • Clicking on malicious or bad links in emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media posts, instant messenger chats, like Skype.

It can be very difficult to restore your PC after a ransomware attack – especially if it’s infected by encryption ransomware.

How Can I Best Protect Myself Against a Ransomware Attack

The best solution to ransomware is to be safe on the Internet and with emails and online chat:

  • Don’t click on a link on a webpage, in an email, or in a chat message unless you absolutely trust the page or sender.
  • If you’re ever unsure – don’t click it!
  • Often fake emails and webpages have bad spelling, or just look unusual. Look out for strange spellings of company names (like “PayePal” instead of “PayPal”) or unusual spaces, symbols, or punctuation (like “iTunesCustomer Service” instead of “iTunes Customer Service”).