Categories
Malware

Facts & Myths about Malware

Who isn’t aware about the malware attacks nowadays? Some have become the victims of it while others are getting to know about it through news, internet and even from the ones affected. Online security is now one of the priorities for us because we all know hackers and malwares aren’t stopping any time soon. But you may not know everything about malware, who does?

Knowing about malwares and educating yourself is a step for your benefit. You can prepare yourself for crisis, make plans and prevent yourself from malicious malware infections. Taking into consideration the rising rate of cybercrimes it is a really important thing to do. So in this article we will talk about some common facts and myths about malwares.

For those who aren’t much aware about malware should know that malware is a collection of different kinds of malicious softwares like ransomware, virus, trojans, worms, adware etc. They consist of codes that are developed by cyberattackers to cause damage to systems and data of users or to gain unauthorized access to someone’s network. Hackers deliver malware in forms of files or links over mails. In order to execute the malware user has has open the file or link.

Facts about malware:

  1. Malwares are difficult to remove: When malware attacks your device it hides in unexpected places on your system like system files, hidden folders etc. This makes their detection and removal very time consuming and even difficult. Sometimes to get rid of the infection totally you have to reinstall your operating system.
  2. Your privacy is under threat: It is a known fact that malwares are used for gathering personal information and selling it on dark web or use it for blackmailing or committing identity theft. Mostly hackers steal information like your computer’s ID address, identification information, browsing history etc.
  3. Your computer’s security is under threat: Not just the malware infects your computer system but it also makes your computer vulnerable for other viruses. Malwares can also cause difficulties with legitimate software and compromise the security of your computer’s operating system.
  4. Malware can bundle with other software and be installed even without your knowledge: There is much malware that bundles up with other software like a documented malware program includes AOL Instant Messenger bundled with WildTangent. There are other applications too that can bundle up with adware and spyware. Some of the malwares can be installed automatically without even notifying the user.
facts-and-myths-about-malware

Myths about malware:

  1. Emails from known senders are safe: It is a myth to blindly trust any mail sent by someone you know. What if their system is infected with some virus? Because of this there is a high chance of receiving infected files and attachments from the mails. If you find anything suspicious about it then just delete it or don’t open it.
  2. If my machine gets infected I’ll be notified: There has been no such concept of receiving notification if any malicious infection attacks your device. The main aim of attackers is to infect your system in such a way that you won’t even know about it so how can you think you’ll be notified about it? Each malware has its own way of working and some of them mostly run undetected.
  3. All known and reputable websites are trustworthy: It is not difficult for hackers to compromise with legit websites these days. All they have to do is use some infected codes on the website and the website is infected. Users usually trust such reputed websites and download files from that and also give their personal information when asked.
  4. Antivirus can stop all the threats: It is a myth because no antivirus can provide 100% security. Of course, any antivirus seller will tell you that their product gives 100% result but it is something they have to do despite knowing that it’s not possible. You can test run your antivirus software to check its efficiency but don’t fall for this 100% security thing, even you know it’s not possible. It is an obvious myth people overlook sometimes.
  5. don’t worry about malware if there isn’t anything important on your machine: Thinking that the only purpose of malware is to steal your personal information and you are safe if your system does not have anything really important, its a myth. Malware can still enter your system and send spam to your contacts. It can also steal your credit card information, bank account details, login details of social media accounts etc. by recording your keystrokes.
  6. Infected machine equals to the hacked machine: It is not necessarily true every time. Just because your system is infected it doesn’t mean attacker is trying to get access into your system. Your system can get infected due to other reasons like visiting infected webpages, installing any malicious app or software from the internet, opening any malicious file or link attached in your mail.
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Cybercrimes Internet security Malware Targeted Attacks Trojans Virus Worms

Knowing About Targeted Attacks

Cyberattacks are usually done with the aim to affect a large sum of people but targeted attacks are quite different. While the motive of hackers is same. I.e., cause harm to someone but they target single organization/company at a time. What are target attacks? Who are they targeting and what are the harms caused by such attacks? Knowing about any cyberattack is a step forward to prevent it. Even small pieces of knowledge can help you build up a plan in case of such targeted attacks. You can know about the basics by reading this article.

knowing-about-targeted-attacks

Cyberattacks aren’t new, they are happening and increasing at an alarming rate. Anyone can be the victim of these malicious attackers, me, you or anyone who is their target. But that doesn’t mean you have to panic, instead you can prepare yourself for such situations and react accordingly. Trust me that’s the need of the hour and will help you a lot.

Targeted attacks:

You can call an attack a targeted attacks if it fulfills the three main criteria:

  1. Main aim of that attack is to infiltrate the networks of their target and steal sensitive information from their servers.
  2. These attacks are target specific and it seen that to carry out this attack considerable amount of time, efforts and resources have been spent.
  3. Targeted attacks are persistent where attackers show considerable effort so that the attacks continue unless their aim is fulfilled.

Is there any difference between cyberattacks and targeted attacks?

As mentioned earlier targeted attacks are actually very different from the cyberattacks. Here’s how you can differentiate between them.

When an attack is done with the intention of harming maximum number of people in a short time span they are cyber attacks but when the attack is targeted they have a narrow scope limiting their targets to one company or organization. All their work, effort and research is carried out to lure people into their trap and getting access to their network.

While cyber attacks are opportunistic, automated and indiscriminate, targeted attacks are purposeful, deliberate and persistent. Intention behind any cyber crime is to steal money like stealing bank details but when any targeted attack takes place it occurs with the main intent of stealing information, the secondary intent is to steal money. Also targeted attacks take place on specific targets having a strong unifying theme like from the same organization.

Who are the targets?

Who are under the radar of target attackers is a concerning question. They can probably target and attack the following:

  • Billing companies : Attackers targeting and attacking billing companies have the purpose of accessing into customer’s account and steal important information. These information consists of financial information, customer’s database and technical data too.

  • Banks : The cyber criminals attack banks’ server with the intention of accessing information and illegally transfer money from the customers’ bank accounts.

Damage caused by targeted attacks:

The victims of target attacks can either be a whole company/organization or some employees of a company/organization in the following ways:

Effect on company:

  • Loss of customer’s information can be one of the damages caused by targeted attacks. Hackers break into the information database of the company and steal customer’s personal information which can be used for identity theft, extortion and blackmail.
  • Company’s reputation will be tarnished because of such attacks. Everyone will see the company incapable of being trusted with sensitive data important to their customers or related to national security.
  • Targeted attacks can cause financial loss too as they might lose clients or have to pay a lot because of legal troubles. Not just this but to repair all the damage caused by the attacks and for future investments companies have to pay big loads of money.
  • Target attacks can be very disrupting for any business and makes them unable to perform even their basic tasks. They either divert the manpower to deal with the attack and cause delay or cause a system downtime.

Effect on company’s employees:

  • Not just the company’s reputation but the employees’ reputation is at stake too. These attacks can also tarnish the reputation on any employee. Data breach results in stealing of important credentials and information that can be used in malicious ways to tarnish the image of employees.
  • Financial loss is very common when banking information of any employee is stolen.
  • Transferring funds from victim’s account is not the only way to steal money. Cyber criminals can use the stolen information of employees to blackmail them and extort money. If attacker’s aim is to steal/extort money then blackmailing is the most viable option for them as there’s no guarantee of getting your information back or destroyed by them. They can blackmail the victim as long as they are getting the money.
  • When cyber-attackers steal information or commit data breach they steal all the significant information and personal identity information. This includes your full name, phone numbers, address, banking details and other important information. This can lead to identity theft.
Categories
Cybercrimes Internet security Malware Phishing Trojans Virus Worms

Why Cybercrimes Are Spreading Like Forest Fire?

Cybercrimes are becoming the new normal. Everyday you wake up to almost a new case of scam, fraud, theft and what not? No, this should not be the new normal! If someones asks me what can we do about it, the answer is, “Educate yourself about cybercrimes as much as you can”. Because by the means of education you can fight back against these crimes and criminals.

One of the most important questions to be raised is, “why there is a hike in the rate of cybercrimes”? the root of the problem will give you the solution. If we work on this principle then it can be a step forward in flattening this crime curve. What kind of cybercrimes are rising and why is the main concern of this article. Let’s begin with the first concern, I.e. the types of cybercrimes rising this year.

cybercrime-spreding-like-forest-fire

Cybercrimes:

Criminal activities targeting or using computers by using a computer network or networked device is termed as a cybercrime. Most of the cybercrimes are committed by the hackers with the intention of stealing money from net users. But some of the cybercrimes are carried by individuals or even organizations.

The main aim of cybercrime is to steal personal information of users, commit crimes and extort money from them. Sometimes the aim can also be other than that like fulfilling any political or personal agenda. A lot of hackers use advanced techniques and are technically skilled. Such crimes are mostly organized.

There are different types of cybercrimes you must have heard about, mentioned here:

  • Identity theft : People using internet for cash transactions and banking services are under the target of cyber attackers. Hackers get unauthorized access to your system and steal important information about you like bank account details, credit and debit card numbers etc. And transfer money from your account or buy things online in the victim’s name. By stealing your identity such criminals can cause you financial loss.

  • Hacking : Hacking is one of the most common cybercrimes committed by hackers for accessing into the system of their victim and steal their credentials and sensitive information by using a variety f softwares. Government systems are usually targeted by the hackers so that they can gain notoriety.

  • Illegal selling on dark web : When hackers steal your information they can sell it to third party on dark web. Besides victim’s information other illegal things like drugs, weapons etc are sold here and the transaction takes place via cryptocurrency. Millions of users around the world are selling and buying illegal stuff on dark web.

  • Computer vandalism : In order to disrupt businesses computer vandalism is used where attackers damage computers and their data. Malicious programs are designed for performing harmful tasks like extracting login information, erasing hard drives and more.

Reason behind increased cybercrime:

  • Doing their research : Nowadays cybercriminals have become smart as they are doing research about their potential targets. They try to gain as much information as possible about the victim. Publicly available data from social media is a big help for them.

  • Cybercrimes can be operated from anywhere : Thanks to the easily accessible internet, cybercrimes can be operated from almost anywhere. To operate without any difficulty criminals are working in countries with limited digital crime laws or only lax enforcement standards. It’s a comfort zone for any criminal to work in a place with lower risk of being caught.

  • Art of being patient and persistent : Thinking that all the attackers are impatient when it comes to scamming people is not true in every case. Now that they have grown smarter they have learned the art of being patient and persistent. They know that having patience can be beneficial to them. Data breaches can take weeks to be discovered and that time is used by the attackers to spread malware to maximum users and stealing their data without being caught. Persistent criminals start by gathering information from social media platforms and then use it for extracting important information.

  • Evolving scams : Scams are evolving with the scammers at an alarming rate. They know old schemes won’t work on most of the users so they have evolved their techniques. Touch screens have become really popular amongst the present population. Scammers came with the plan to created digitalized dust particles or hair follicles. They appear on your phone/computer/laptop screen, you swipe it and in that moment a malware is installed on your system.

  • Targeting maximum people at a time : Because of email facility targeting bulk of people at a time isn’t a big task for scammers. Nowadays everyone is receiving mails with attachments looking from any legitimate organization. All you have to do is click open the attachment and your system is infected. Sending mails is an easy option is cheap and you can send it in bulk at a times
Categories
Malware Phishing Trojans Virus Worms

How Are Computer Virus, Trojans And Worms Different From Each Other?

Malware spread is rising rapidly and our computer security is at stake. Different types of malware are used by hackers to hack into our system and commit cyber crimes. Nowadays we all are getting news of identity frauds, phishing scams and what not. Many people don’t even know what has attacked their system so they can’t deal with it. Knowing about different types of malware is a necessary step, considering the present scenario.

How-Are-Computer-Virus-Trojans-And-Worms-Different-From-Each-Other

How many of you know the difference between a computer virus and trojan? Or between a trojan and worm? Or even between the three of them? If you want to know about it then you can find it in this article. In this article we will read about the difference between virus, worms and trojans and how such infections spread.

Starting with the basic definitions, we can say that:

  • Virus is a type of computer program or malicious software that connects itself to computer program or some other software and harms it.
  • Trojan is a type of malware that captures important information about a computer network or system.
  • Worms are the type of malware that replicates itself which eventually slows down the computer system.

Replication :

  • Virus replicates itself.
  • Trojans horse doesn’t replicate itself.
  • While worms have the ability to replicate itself.

Control :

  • Viruses are not controlled by remote.
  • Trojans can be controlled by remote.
  • Just like Trojans, Worms can also be controlled by remotes.

Spread :

  • Viruses spread at a moderate rate.
  • Worms have a faster spreading rate when compared to virus and Trojans.
  • Spreading rate of Trojan horse is slower than worms as well as virus.

Objective :

  • The main objective or aim of virus is to modify any information.
  • Trojan horse works with the objective of stealing information.
  • Worms as the name suggests has the objective of eating the system resources.

Execution :

  • Executable files are used to execute viruses.
  • To execute Trojan horses a programs that interprets as utility software is used.
  • The vulnerabilities of weaknesses of a system execute worms.

Spread of virus, worms and trojan horses:

How does these infections spread? By knowing this you can prevent your system from getting infected and your privacy from being breached.

Worms :

  • Most of the infections that attack your system are because of internet. There are links infected to website hidden in the HTML of website and because of that whenever that page loads infection is triggered.
  • Email attachments often carry worms and whenever someone opens that link the infection starts to spread.
  • Downloads and FTP servers can also contribute in spreading worms to your system. It starts by infecting individual FTP files or downloaded files. But if it goes undetected the harms caused by it can spread to the server and all outbound FTP transmissions.
  • Instant messaging apps can spread infection through desktop and mobile messaging apps generally as external links that includes native messaging apps like Facebook messenger, Whatsapp and more.
  • Worms can spread through P2P file sharing networks and by any other shared device or files like a network server or USB stick.

Trojan horses :

  • If anyone has access to your system then they can easily copy trojan horse to your hard disk or a hacker can also create a trojan that mimics a program unique to your system only.
  • If someone send you an email attachment infected with trojan horse, it is likely to infect your system whenever that attachment is opened. Hackers try to make that email attachment look as legit as possible so that the user gets tricked into opening it.
  • Sometimes people who cannot find your email address can send you trojan horse through online chat box or instant messaging because it is a relatively easy way of infecting someone’s system. Hackers befriend the potential victim, lure them by sending a file that catches their attention and when the victim opens it the trojan horse is triggered.
  • You can find trojans on websites providing free software like shareware programs. On such websites trojan horse write can get anonymity and a chance of attacking as many people as they want. Website operators don’t go through every file posted which result in trojan horse slipping through the checking process unnoticed sometimes.

Virus :

  • Promotional mails are there in everyone’s mail box. Such mails comes with virus containing attachments but looks like from a legit website. So users generally open those attachments and their system gets infected.
  • Many websites like dating, gaming entertainment or adult automatically install virus and other malware into your system.
  • Hard drives containing infected disks are responsible for virus attacks and infections. Virus programs can get activated when you attach the hard drive to your computer and restart it and your data gets compromised.
Categories
Malware

Malware and its Types

It is usually said that viruses and malware have taken over your computer but what does the term “malware” means here? This article will discuss the meaning of malware and in addition to that it will also talk about the types of malware and harms caused by it.

Malware, the term mentioned above can be defined as a software that is designed intentionally for damaging a server, computer network, computer or even a client. It contains many types of malicious software variants such as ransomware, viruses and spyware. In order to gain unauthorized access to a network or to cause large damage to systems and data, cyber attackers have developed codes, I.e. malware. Typically this malware are delivered in the form of links or file over mail. In order to execute the malware, one has to click the link or open the file. there are many software available to clean your PC which helps to optimize your system performance.

types-of-malware

Types of Malware

Moving further we can see there are different types of malware that are mentioned below.

  1. Bots: It is seen that bots are usually used for harmless purposes like online contests, video gaming, internet auctions, etc. But it is also seen that bots are now being used for malicious purposes as well. They are software programs that are designed to perform specific functions on their own. A collection of computers used and controlled by third parties, usually knows as Botnets are used for some malicious purposes. Botnets are used as spambots for rendering advertisements on websites, for DoDS attacks, for distributing malware (that are disguised as popular search items on popular websites) and even as web spiders for scraping server data.
  2. Rookit: In order to remotely control or access a computer without being detected by the security programs or users, malicious software, Rookit is designed. Identifying Rookit can be difficult as it hides its presence, and the typical security products are not efficient enough to detect and remove them. If you want to identify a Rookit then it mostly depends on manual methods like signature scanning storage dump analysis and monitoring computer behavior for irregular activities. Rookit can not be identified easily (as mentioned above) and once they enter the computer system the cyber attackers can easily access or control your files, steal the information, alter software, modify the system configurations, control your computer as part of a botnet and even install concealed malware.
  3. Bug: A bug, here is defined as a flaw producing undesired results. They are formed usually because of human error and exist in the compilers or source code of a program. There can be 2 types of bugs that can harm your systems in different ways. The minor ones will harm your system slightly and can persist for a longer time before being identified. But with the major ones, the effects are different, like causing a crash or freezing. One of the most severe bugs in the Security bugs that can allow cyberattackers to bypass user authentication steal data and even override access privileges.
  4. Ransomware: As the name suggests, Ransomware is the type of software that holds a system in captivity in exchange for ransom. This malware works in two ways. It either encrypts files on the hard drive or locks down the system and then display messages for forcing the user to pay ransom to the malware creator. The malware creator must be paid so that they remove the restriction and the user regains access to their computer.
  5. Spyware: Spyware is the type of software that is used for spying on the user activity without their knowledge. It typically includes collecting keystrokes, data harvesting I.e. account information, financial data, login, etc., activity monitoring, and son. Not just this but it has other capabilities as well like modifying security settings of browsers or software, interfering with internet connections, and so on.
  6. Virus: The type of malware has the capability to copy itself and spread to other computers. When a user launches to one of the infected programs viruses attach themselves to different programs and executing code and hence spread to other computers as well. Not just this but these viruses can spread through documents, script files, and even cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in web apps. They can cause damage to your system by stealing data, create botnets, harm host networks and computers, steal money and even more.
  7. Worms: One of the most common types of software is a computer worm that exploits operating system vulnerabilities. By overloading web servers and consuming bandwidths worms harm the host networks. Worms also contain payloads(codes written to perform actions on affected computers) that damage host computers. Computer worms are capable of self-replicate and spread independently by sending mass emails with infected attachments to the users.
  8. Trojan horse: Trojan horse which is also known as Trojan is a kind of malware that can disguise itself as a normal program or file so that it can trick users for downloading and installing malware. It can give the malicious party remote access to the infected computer. Once the malicious party gets access to the infected computer, they can steal the data, modify files, monitor user activity, install malware, anonymize internet activity, etc. 

All of above are types of malware. if you want to prevent from malware and want to secure your data you need to go with PC Security. PC Security is important to protect our personal information/data. It also helps to keep our computer security and its total health by avoiding viruses and malware which would badly affect the system performance.