Malware is a term used to describe any type of malicious software. This can include viruses, Trojans, worms, viruses, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, etc.
All forms of malware are dangerous, but some do more damage than others. For instance, adware, while annoying, isn’t really a threat. It’s similar to spam and tracks your online activity, then gives you popups on your computer which aren’t necessarily dangerous.
Then you have malware like spyware. Spyware can either be good or bad. Parents often buy commercial spyware programs to keep an eye on their children’s online activity. These aren’t dangerous in any way. However there are types of spyware that can be installed on your computer without your knowledge, for malicious purposes such as stealing your personal information.
All other types of malware are usually very dangerous to have on your computer. It’s important to have some type of anti-malware software installed to make sure you don’t get infected.
Viruses and worms spread throughout your computer by duplicating themselves and they can even send themselves to other computers through the internet, email, and IM’s. These cause damage to your computer by corrupting files and slowing down your computer often making it inoperable.
Trojans are non-replicating forms of malware which present themselves as something legitimate or real, causing the user to actually install it onto their computer themselves. Once installed, Trojans can steal or delete your data and information. They can even act as a backdoor, giving hacker’s remote access to the computer. Once this happens, any information you have on your computer is accessible and the hacker can pretty much do as he pleases.
Backdoors are exactly what they sound like. Easy access points for hackers to gain remote access to your computer. These backdoors can get on your computer through the installation of a program, usually a Trojan horse type program, or through use of a rootkit.
Rootkits are designed to allow other forms of malware to install themselves. It does this easily because it is very hard to detect rootkits. Rootkits can also steal information from network connections, and function like a keylogger. Rootkits are one of the most difficult forms of malware to remove, because it’s specifically designed to be undetectable.
The last, and most dangerous type of malware we’ll be talking about is called ransomware. Ransomware does exactly what it sounds like. It holds your computer hostage by locking it and demands a ransom in order to unlock the computer. A notorious strain of ransomware called Moneypak acts as if it’s from the FBI, saying you have broken the law, and demands you to pay a fine or be subject to criminal prosecution.
There was a 36 year old Romanian man who got his computer infected with ransomware. It told him he had to pay £13,000 or he would go to jail for 11 years. He thought this was real, and ended up killing his son, and himself.
And that is why ransomware is the most dangerous form of malware, not only has it conned thousands of people into paying criminals millions of dollars, but it has also caused the deaths of two innocent people.