Malware is a contraction of malicious software. This describes any piece of software that was designed with the intent of causing damage or stealing data. Some of the commonly known malware are viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware. There are more than these including worms, adware, and rootkits, constantly updating with new attacks.
Malware is created by hackers who may be looking to make money, protest or test security. But what is malware, and why is it such a threat to your business?
What Is Malware?
Malware is a term that covers a variety of different types of software, and each is different. Here are some of the most prevalent:
Viruses – These attach themselves to files and cause damage, then spread to other files. They can corrupt and delete files within your system.
Trojans – They disguise themselves as legitimate software (or are hidden in legitimate software) and can create pathways in your security to allow other malware in.
Spyware – This watches what you do online, and can take your passwords, credit card details, and bank account numbers.
Ransomware – This can lock down your computer and threatens to erase everything unless you pay a ransom.
These can be disastrous for businesses, in some cases causing companies to shut down entirely. This is because not only can it cost an awful lot of money, but if data is leaked, customers are likely to lose trust and not be willing to use your business again.
How Can You Tell If You Have Malware?
Some types of malware (such as ransomware) will make their presence known immediately. Others (such as spyware) will hide from you for as long as possible – which means that they could have been on your system for a long time before you detect them. The best way to detect malware is to have an efficient cybersecurity plan in place.