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The Most Common Types of Malware in Computer Networks and Systems

The Most Common Types of Malware in Computer Networks and Systems

Last updated 30th Nov 2022
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Imagine the reaction of an online businessman when he discovers his computer system has crashed. It is almost impossible to quantify the pain and agony he will experience. The loss of information, contacts, and other valuable data will not only lead to emotional destabilization. Still, it will also result in a significant loss of business opportunities for the businessman and his company. 

As computers have become significant devices for information storage, data analysis, and business interactions, it is crucial to keep them protected from various malicious elements such as malware, resulting in data loss, theft, or hardware crash. 

Protection from such attacks is necessary, especially in this age where most of the world’s population has private information online.

What Is “Malware”?

The term malware is a word coined from the fusion of two other words, “malicious” and “software.” It translates to mean, intrusive software designed to cause considerable damage to computer systems in data destruction or unauthorized network access. 

The term has evolved to become a canopy word used to refer to all forms of malicious software, usually consisting of codes developed by cyber attackers aimed at attacking computer networks. They include software such as ransomware, Trojan horses, worms, viruses, adware, and spyware, most of which give intruders access to your personal information and network. 

This article discusses the most common types of malware in cyberspace, ways to protect your computers from invasion, and how to protect your files. For further reading, check out our article on the top five most common types of malware and how to prevent them.

Types of Malware

Malware can exist in various forms, from spam messages to phishing emails. However, the most common types of malware are those executed as software codes and sent into computer systems. They include the following:

Trojan Horse

Have you ever heard of the legendary Trojan Horse used by Greek soldiers in ancient times as a decoy to sneak into the city of Troy? 

The horse concealed the soldiers inside its hollow interior while they waited for the signal for attack, upon which they wreaked havoc in the city. The Trojan Horse malware is encoded to breach the security of a computer system while working to effect a specific function such as contact theft or data removal. 

The name was coined in 1976 in a report by the US Air Force on ways by which computer systems can be jeopardized. 

Trojans are often spread by forms of manipulation that cause unsuspecting individuals to divulge confidential information or perform actions which put them at risk of cyber and malware attack. It can also appear in fake advertisements disguised as susceptible or informative emails with malicious link addresses. 

Even though they can take many forms, Trojans do not attempt to infect or propagate themselves into other files within the computer network. The presence of Trojans in a computer system is usually characterized by slow computer activity, frequent hanging and crashing, and a rise in internet usage.

Being aware of the existence of Trojans is one thing and protecting yourself against them is another. To prevent a Trojan attack, it is best not to open unfamiliar emails, messages, and random ads. In addition, always verify the authenticity of any website before sharing your information with them.

Viruses

Named after tiny microorganisms too small to be seen with the naked eye capable of multiplying in a host, these pieces of code can copy themselves and spread to destroy computer systems. When computer virus software is launched, they replicate themselves by modifying the programs within the system and inserting their code in them. 

Computer virus malware is known to require a host program from which the “infectious attack” begins. After the successful attachment to a file, the virus remains dormant in the file until the computer executes the virus’s code. That is to say that for a virus to infect a computer system or network, the infected program has to be run, causing the execution of the code.

From the above statement, you can deduce that a virus will stay in a computer without showing any symptoms unless it is triggered. This act is because viruses are created by code writers who employ the deception principles of social engineering to steal information via exploiting security loopholes in computer systems. 

Damages arising from virus infections range from system failure to data loss to privacy violation. Therefore, researchers have developed antivirus packages software and Malwarebytes cybersecurity to detect and protect against virus attacks during downloads or file runs.

Worms

This code is one of the most common types of malware found in computer networks. It resembles a computer virus. However, it can replicate and spread itself across large networks. Computer worms do not require attachment to programs before they can cause damage. They do so self-sufficiently. 

As usual, worms are channeled through loopholes in the software and fie securities. They may also appear in the form of emails from where they infect the IT network. The presence of worms is characterized by file disappearance and occupation of drive space. It is possible to protect against worms with the aid of antivirus software.

Ransomware

Cryptovirology is a branch of cryptography that seeks to use the field for designing powerful malicious software. Ransomware is a cryptology malware that threatens to destroy or leak information unless a cryptocurrency ransom is paid. The malware is commonly spread through phishing emails, and decryption tools best protect computer systems. Please read our article on the 2021 statistics of ransomware to know more about the trend of malware in cryptocurrency.

Adware and Spyware

These are software that sends information about personal information from private computers to third parties without their consent. For example, corporations often employ it for surveys and data analysis. You can block most spyware by installing ad lockers and enforcing privacy settings on your device.

Why You Should Protect Your Computers against Malware

The importance of protecting your computer networks against malware cannot be overemphasized. With new-age technologies as the driving force of society, it is common to find data and business transactions on computer systems. Hence, it is essential to close all the gaps in network security systems to prevent the loss of information.

How to Protect Your Computer Network?

You can protect your computer network by getting in touch with the experts at Triadanet. Please schedule an appointment with them today to make your business cyber secure.

Staff Writer

Staff Writer