What is Malware?

February 23, 2018 by
What is Malware?
Lighthouse IT Solutions, Matthew Almendinger

Malicious Software and how to keep yourself from succumbing to them.

Malware is short for malicious software and comes in many different forms. While some may believe that its purpose is to slow down or make a computer unusable, in reality that's only a side effect. The main focus is to bypass security or steal information. This leads to the question; what types of malware are there and how can I protect myself against them?

Malicious software comes in many different varieties, but some are more common than others.

  • The most common type is the Worm. These get into a computer through system openings and can spread without human influence.
  • Another is a Virus, which is often used as a blanket term for all malware, these are used for the same reasons as worms but generally need human interaction to spread.
  • Another fairly common form is Adware, which is responsible for most pop-ups on sites for free software or other shady offers. While annoying, if not harmless, by themselves they are usually paired with dangerous malware like Spyware.
  • Spyware, as it sounds, is software that spies on an infected computer. This could be through recording keystrokes, monitoring your display or even the camera.
  • Ransomware again is a bit self-explanatory as it encrypts a computer's files so the user cannot access them unless a ransom is paid out to the hacker.
  • The last main type is what's called a Trojan Horse. These are disguised as normal programs but are a way to trick individual into downloading malware.

Cybersecurity can be scary! But it is actually quite easy to stay safe!

Lighthouse IT Solutions hosted a webinar in 2019 where we went over the many things you should be aware of in order to help keep your digital world safe.

Watch It Here

Now the question is how do I protect myself against Malicious Software?

The best place to start is to have a reliable anti-virus. Make sure your computer is up to date, as this is the simplest tactic to staying safe. Use strong passwords and do not use the same password for multiple accounts. While online, avoid clicking ads and do not click untrustworthy links. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to computer safety, but these are some of the more potent and effective to get into the habit of. Following these guidelines will substantially decrease the risk of getting infected, which in turn increases a user's piece of mind, helping you sleep at night. And isn't that the end goal anyway?