There’s no longer one type of computer virus that can wreak havoc on a system. Cybercrime and the use of malware has only become more prevalent since the very first computer virus was created back in 1986.
Those that design and release these threats on unsuspecting computer users and corporate networks have only gotten more sophisticated and now several forms have branched off from what we considered a “virus.”
Malware is now the broader term used for multiple computer threats which encompasses everything from ransomware to adware to spyware. Our Pro Tech Guy Defense Team has seen and eradicated them all.
If you’re thinking that an antivirus and malware program built in to a new computer is enough to protect you, you could be putting your computer, Wi-Fi network, and everything that connects to it at risk.
While programs like Microsoft’s Windows Defender may help as a baseline of protection, they’re not designed to be as robust as other anti-malware and antivirus programs.
We often get frantic calls for virus removal, after an infection has occurred, and we never want to leave a client after removing the malware without giving them a way to defend themselves against future threats.
That’s why Pro Tech Guy is always on the lookout for the best and most robust anti-malware software, and one program that is particularly tenacious and designed to provide a triple level of protection is Emsisoft.
We’ll get into why we like Emsisoft a bit more later in this article, but first, let’s talk about what threats are out there and why you need an antivirus now… more than ever!
Types of Malware that Threaten Your Computer Daily
It seems that malware creators never sleep! In 2017, there were 360,000 new malicious computer files detected every single day. And that’s a 14% increase over the prior year. (Info Security Magazine)
While some hackers just create troublesome viruses to prove they can do it to other hackers, the main reason for the rise in malware attacks is money. Hackers use methods like holding your data hostage and demanding a ransom to a spyware script meant to steal sensitive information (like online banking logins).
30% of internet users worldwide paid to recover data after a malware incident.
According to Statista, the financial costs of a malware attack were divided into these types of expenses:
- Cost of repairs (34%)
- Purchasing antivirus software (30%)
- Paying to recover data (30%)
- Buying a tool to clean computer (24%)
- Replacing damaged components (23%)
- Replacing damaged device (18%)
- Paid a ransom to decrypt files from ransomware (16%)
- Other (1%)
What’s the difference between the types of malware out there? Here’s an overview of 5 common types of malware.
The most well know is the typical computer virus. They are designed to modify a legitimate file on your system to allow the virus to be run along with it. They’re the only type that “infect” another file, which is why they’re difficult to eradicate.
This is one of the fastest growing types of malware because of the financial pay-off for cyber criminals. Ransomware has been used against hospitals, large companies, and municipalities. It is a script that encrypts the files on a system, or otherwise locks the users out, and the crook demands a ransom, usually in the thousands of dollars, to give access back to the files.
This one has less of a system damage or financial loss risk because it’s meant to drive malicious advertising. It’s incredibly annoying because it can take over your browser searches to drive you to look-alike pages with product promotions.
One of the more insidious types of malware is spyware because it can sit on your system quietly for years and you don’t even know it’s there. It’s not designed to start making your computer act weird or redirect your browser, instead it silently records every keystroke you make, working to get passwords and logins to your personal data.
This type of malware is designed to trick you into downloading it onto your system by disguising itself as something else. You might visit a malicious site and see a pop-up that your computer is infected, and you need to download their cleaning software, but it’s really a trojan worm. Trojans are designed to get the user to purposely download and install them (kind of like inviting a Vampire into your home) so they can bypass other protections, like firewalls.
What Are the Most Popular Delivery Methods for Malware?
Most types of malware utilize similar delivery methods for getting into your computer.
The most popular is the phishing email, where you might receive an email from a seemingly legitimate source (like a shipping company or bank), and that even might use their logo on it. But it’s designed to trick you into downloading a malicious attachment or going to a dangerous website.
Here are the top delivery methods for viruses and malware:
- Phishing emails with bogus attachments or links
- Downloading “software” from dangerous sources
- Online ads that download malicious scripts when you click them
- Social media surveys or fake messages
- Vulnerabilities in unpatched software
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The best defense is a strong anti-malware program. As we mentioned earlier, Emsisoft is one that’s a favorite of ours because of its triple threat protection engineered to protect against multiple methods of intrusion.
• Surf Protection: Protecting you from scripts on malicious websites
• Behavior Blocker: Monitoring new threats by looking for strange system behaviors
• Real Time File Guard: If a dangerous file is downloaded, it identifies and quantines it through a dual-engine scan
Is Your Computer and Network Properly Protected?
In today’s connected world, every computer, tablet, and smartphone connected to your home Wi-Fi could be at risk if even one of them downloads a virus.
Don’t leave your security to chance, contact Pro Tech Guy today for a security check to make sure you’ve got the best defense.