Anyone who uses a computer with Internet access on a daily basis or who often shares files with other users frequently hears the words viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware, and malware. It is common for us to think, in a general way, that they are all viruses and dangerous for any computer.
In part, this statement is true: in fact, they are all harmful in some way. However, not all are viruses and each one has its own characteristics. It should be noted that all of them are called malware. In this post we will learn to differentiate the different categories of malware and their problems.
What is malware?
When the first personal computers were placed on desks in offices and homes, so did various threats to our security and privacy, such as viruses and malware. In the beginning, most of the time they were naive jokes that caused a tremendous scare, or some small damage, but did not pass to major.
But over the years, malware and viruses have become, in addition to being much more effective, more dangerous, since they have changed their actions, they no longer seek to scare or provoke reactions in people, or the recognition of their developers , its function has simply been redirected to obtain from us all the data that we have stored on computers and mobile devices to extort, steal or any other possible criminal intent.
In this sense, one of the tools most implemented by criminally-minded developers is the so-called Malware, which although we have surely heard of it, we may not be fully aware of its scope and danger.
Malware is an everyday occurrence. Every time we open an email, an image or software downloaded from the Internet, we are exposed to their actions. Some of us have probably already suffered from it, and we have suffered until we found a clean solution to the malware infection that would not force us to format the entire PC and lose all its content, in addition to the time necessary to restore everything to its usual location.
Others have not had this problem, and it is because they are very lucky or simply take all the necessary measures so that this does not happen.
What is malware and why is it so dangerous?
Malware is a type of software, that is, a program, specifically designed to cause damage such as theft of information, modifications to the files of the operating system to take full control of the PC and any other type of damage, in any type of system IT, including data centers, personal computers and mobile devices, among others. This is obviously done without the consent of the owner of the equipment in question.
Malware can come from countless sources : pen drives, external storage drives such as discs and CDs, files from the Internet, and the carriers can be compressed files, executable applications, images, video, audio, and much more.
Also one of the most important and dangerous sources of malware are download networks such as torrent, eMule or similar, or content download pages. That is why when downloading from these networks or visiting these sites we must be extremely cautious with what we download.
The term malware comes from English, specifically from the contraction of two Saxon words: “Malicious” and “Software”, and it is the main terminology used by both professionals and neophytes to refer to this type of problematic software.
However, most of the time, the term is used as a synonym for virus, or as if it were another type of virus. This is incorrect, since the word “malware” includes both viruses in any of their forms, as well as other threats. In other words, a virus is another type of malware.
The answer to the second part of the question in the title is simple: there are too many variants of malware, viruses, keyloggers, worms, crimeware, worms, Trojans, scareware, spyware, adware and many others. In addition, a new one develops every day, which makes a peer-to-peer fight with them practically impossible.
As much as we have the best antivirus system installed , and we are aware of taking all possible precautions, sooner or later we will be victims, especially if we leave our luck only to these elements. Without a doubt, the best tool to combat malware is common sense.
Malware falls into other categories, and they are likely to continue to do so as they discover and invent new ways to attack. Those categories include viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, and other lesser known ones.
From this point on, we will be able to get to know these malware one by one in greater depth, which will allow us, at a certain moment, to face them without despairing.
Viruses are the programs most used to cause damage, steal information and all other types of cybercrime. Viruses differ from other malware by their ability to infect a system, make copies of itself, and try to spread to other computers.
Virus infection through email attachments is very common and this is because it is generally necessary for a virus to be triggered by user action.
One of the most dangerous viruses recorded was “ILOVEYOU”, a love letter that was released by email and is held responsible for the loss of more than five billion dollars in various companies.
Worms or worms
A worm or worm is a malicious program that is used from a network to spread over several computers, without any user needing to perform any action. This is the difference with a virus.
Worms are dangerous since they can be activated and spread through fully automatic processes without the need to attach to any file for their execution. While viruses collect, modify and corrupt files, worms often consume network bandwidth.
Trojan, is an abbreviation of Troyan Horse (Trojan Horse), and is a set of functions developed to carry out unwanted actions. It can be, for example, a file that is downloaded as a screen saver, but after installation, various programs or commands are executed.
Not every Trojan alters a computer, in some cases, it only installs components of which we are not aware. Hence the relationship with the Trojan horse, historically speaking. We receive content that appears to be a certain file, but contains other things that we did not expect or were not informed about.
Rootkits encompass some of the most lurid malware known. These programs simply take control of an operating system without user consent and undetected.
The great merit of the rootkit is its ability to hide itself from almost all antivirus programs using advanced programming code. Although a rootkit file is found, in some cases it manages to become indestructible. Rootkits are the most efficient way to invade a system without being detected.
Spy, in English, means spy, and it was for this purpose that spyware emerged. In the early days, spyware monitored page views and other browsing habits to inform the authors. By having this type of information, the authors could reach users more effectively, for example, with advertisements based on the search carried out by the “spied”.
However, over time, spyware was also used to steal personal information (such as passwords) and also to modify computer settings (such as the browser’s home page).
Currently, spyware has gained popularity and a large number of companies develop specific programs to kill this type of malware. These are the Antispyware programs.
The last malware on that list generally doesn’t harm our computer, but it is annoying, for sure. Adwares are those programs that show, execute or download advertisements and advertisements automatically without the user being able to interfere.
At present, adwares are considered a category of software, differing from freewares (free programs), demos or trials (test programs), since they are intended for dissemination, and not to harm a computer or system.
Although knowing in depth the different types of malware that exist is one of the fundamental tools to be able to combat them and eradicate them from our devices, the truth is that this knowledge is of little use if we do not take certain precautions that have to do with common sense or we did not install good antivirus software.
In this sense, by clicking on this link to this post you will be able to find the best antivirus on the market and a complete guide on how to install them on the computer easily and without problems.
WhatsApp malware? Watch out!
One of the main fears that users of computer equipment usually have is, without a doubt, the real and concrete possibility of at some point being victims of a virus, that is, that said equipment becomes infected causing damage to the operating system or being the gateway for personal and sensitive information to be stolen from us.
The general fear is then centered on the viruses that swarm through the internet, and can enter our computers without us noticing, although the truth is that with due care for the security of our computer devices, this statement is not so true .
Within the widespread fear around viruses and malware , smartphone users are the ones who most often fear this type of problem, since as we well know, a smartphone can become infected through different applications. Usually this happens when we install apps from dubious or unknown sources.
However, official and well-known applications, such as WhatsApp, which is what concerns us in this article , can also serve as a gateway for malware to enter.
Of course, that for u na application like WhatsApp, which has a very good security platform to protect our data, it becomes the gateway for malware , it is necessary that we as users commit some kind of mistake you make malware may enter our device.
Therefore, here we tell you which are the most frequent malware on WhatsApp, and we bring you some examples of them, also giving you the necessary tools to avoid them.
What is a WhatsApp malware?
Thanks to the permanent development of applications, today we can have a wide variety of instant messaging services. In recent years, the most popular programs of this type have been WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts, among others, which to a greater or lesser extent have shown to have problems related to malware.
In the specific case of WhatsApp, for some time we have heard news about malicious people who use WhatsApp for criminal purposes, for example spreading malware, especially when they are in front of novice users in the world of computing.
The first thing to keep in mind when we talk about malware on WhatsApp, as well as any type of computer virus, is that the main objective of malware is to deceive us, and for this, different forms are used.
In general, malware in WhatsApp focuses on being able to steal personal and sensitive information, such as knowing our bank account data, our passwords, and all kinds of data that compromise our personal security.
To do this, in general, malware that spreads through instant messaging programs, such as malware in WhatsApp, usually appears in the form of a message in which an unknown contact sends us a link to a photo, a video or a web page.
From there we will surely find a platform that asks us for personal data, even some malware has the characteristic of deceiving us by camouflaging itself and making us believe that it is a real application to steal our data.
It is very important that we bear in mind that for malware to enter our mobile device through WhatsApp, we must be involved in the process, that is, because viruses almost do not exist on Android, the truth is that for For malware to act on our smartphone, it is necessary for this malicious code to have our consent, so ultimately the one who ends up installing and authorizing the malware is ourselves as users.
Examples of WhatsApp malware
Although in most cases of malware in WhatsApp, its format usually consists of a message that includes a link that directs us to a misleading site or downloads a virus when we click on it, the truth is that there is a great variety of different ways of scams through this application.
In this sense, one of the most frequent and popular scams consists of the false news that spreads on the internet from time to time, stating that shortly WhatsApp will begin to charge the service to the users of the application, and that to avoid it we must carry out a series of procedures on a website that will allow us to continue enjoying the free benefits of WhatsApp, of course we do not find there with the request for personal information.
In this same format, the existence of other versions of WhatsApp is also disseminated, such as one that for some time had the name WhatsApp Gold, and which claimed that it was the version of the app that would allow us to use the service for free. Once the real WhatsApp became paid, which of course was a great lie, which from time to time manages to fool more than one.
Another of the most popular examples of malware in WhatsApp in recent times is based on a group of hackers who deceive people by posing as members of a government organization related to the security of the State of the country in which the user resides. .
Through this, a message is sent with a link that invites the user to click on it, and at that moment a malicious file is executed that quickly infects not only the application in question but the entire smartphone, in order to steal information.
In general, this link can appear in the form of a JPEG file, PDF, Excel spreadsheet, Word document or others, and when you click on it, what it does is download and authorize the malware to do its thing on our mobile device .
Its function basically consists of collecting personal information, including banking information, which it then sends to the remote user who is scamming us.
How to avoid WhatsApp malware?
The main key to avoiding malware in WhatsApp is to avoid everything that we do not know, that is, in principle we must always avoid clicking on messages that include links to suspicious places, especially if they come from people we do not know.
In the event that we receive one of these types of links from a contact we know, we must avoid clicking on it anyway, and it is recommended to ask our contact and it has really been he who has sent us that link or file.
On the other hand, it is not recommended to install applications to spy on conversations, since the truth is that they are services that contain malware. It goes without saying that we must avoid by all means the installation of the well-known WhatsApp Gold or any of its other forms.
We must also avoid the installation of any application that ensures that we can add new functions to WhatsApp through them, since this is also a resounding deception.
Likewise, it is advisable to avoid the typical chain letters, since these also often include a link created to scam users.