Security Issues: Malware

Security Issues: Malware

Short for Malicious Software, Malware refers to any program codes, scripts or software programs which are designed to disrupt or deny any operations, do any unwanted actions on computer systems, gather information which leads to the loss of privacy or exploitation, gain unauthorized access to the computer system resources, and also abusive behaviors.

“Mal” is a Spanish suffix which means ‘Bad’, hence, making the term ‘Badware’, which is a good way to remember it, though you are not Spanish. However, it is a general expression is commonly used among the computer professionals as a means to describe an array of forms of hostile, intrusive or annoying software or program code.

So, some common examples of malware include viruses, worms, spyware, Trojan horses, rootkit, phishing and spam.

Viruses

Like a biological virus, a computer virus is something that one does not want to get, as a computer virus is a computer program that has the ability to attach itself to a host program or file and it can replicate itself. In this way, a computer virus can easily be spread from one computer to another.

These malicious little programs can move files, erase files, create files, consume computer’s memory, and hence causing a computer not to function properly.

Viruses can be transmitted as attachments to an email note or in a downloaded file or can even be transferred from one USB port to a computer.

Worms

A computer worm is a self-replicating malware computer program, and it does not alter files but instead resides in active memory and duplicates itself.

A computer worm makes use of a computer network in order to send copies of itself to other nodes (computer terminals found on the network) and it does not require any user intervention. This occurs due to security shortcomings on the target computer.

Additionally, a computer worm does not require attaching itself to a computer files, like a computer virus.

Trojan Horses

In Greek mythology, there is a story about the Trojan War. This war lasted many years, as the Greeks could not penetrate the heavily barricaded city of Troy. So one day, a few of the Greek soldiers brought the people of Troy a large wooden horse, which they accepted as a peace offering. The horse was moved inside the city walls, where it sat until the night. After the people of the city had fallen asleep, Greek soldiers jumped out of the wooden horse, opened the gates to let their fellow soldiers in, and took over the city.

So, based on the moral of this story, we can eventually conclude that, in computers, a Trojan horse is a malicious program that, according to the user, the program is performing desirable function to the user prior to run or install, but in addition to the expected function, steals the information or harms the computer system.

Spyware

As the name implies, this is software that “spies” on a computer system. So, spyware is a program that has taken a place on a computer system and is monitoring all the activities being carried out on the computer system. This is because, the purpose of a spyware is to capture personal data (passwords, financial data, etc.) and transmit that data (without your knowledge) back over the internet to a malicious source.

Phishing

Phishing is the name for fraudulent proposals that exploit the internet as a communication channel to easily reach a large number of targets.  You may receive emails saying “you’ve won a prize”, or “urgent: second contact attempt”, all asking for an immediate reply.  It is just good common sense to ignore these types of fraudulent communication, no matter the source.

Spam

Spam is any unsolicited communication received electronically.  Typically, we think of email, but instant messaging can also be a source of spam.  Spam can be an entry point for spyware or malware.

Anju Chundunsing

 

3 Comments for “Security Issues: Malware”

  1. i appreciate your taking the time

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  3. Thanks a lot for this article.

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