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Introduction to Malware: What is it About – Sources, Signs and Impact?

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How much do you know about malwares? Here’s a brief review on the subject – showing the sources, signs and impacts.

Malware simply means a computer program/file that can cause harm to a computer. It is otherwise known as “malicious software”, which, if introduced into a PC, could impede the smooth-running of such computer. In worse cases, where malwares are left to linger, a system crash could occur.

Therefore, as a PC owner or system admin, it’s important to know what malware is about. And we’ll be doing justice to that in this piece, particularly how to prevent/remove malwares from your PC.

What is computer malware?

A malware is a malicious software, plugin or file, which has the propensity to disrupt the smooth-running of a computer system. They are similar to computer viruses, but are somewhat different; in that they inject themselves in the guise of utility apps, emails or files.

Furthermore, malwares are generally stubborn, as they are very difficult to get rid of. A typical malware can reinstall itself, even after removing the host program. Hence, clearing them could be a near-impossible task.

In addition, malwares could be really dangerous; they can redirect your web searches, hijack your web browser, track visited sites and reconfigure your entire system settings.

Essentially, when a PC becomes infected with malware, its running speed is greatly reduced, resulting in reduced system performance. So, if your system suddenly becomes draggy, your PC could have been infected with malware.

Types of malware

Malware typically refers to any file or software that can cause damage to your computer. And these files/programs are classified based on their respective appearances and effects. Put aptly, malwares are classified based on their sources and impacts on host computers.

Below is a summary of some prominent types of malware:

  1. Spyware

This is one of the most notorious types of malware, whose impacts are often irrecoverable. Spywares, as the name implies, infiltrate your computer via an email or insecure website, or via an installed program. It then gathers vital information about the host computer (and owner) and sends them to a designated recipient (hacker).

In addition, spywares are generally difficult to remove, as it could be running on your system for months undetected. Targeted programs include email clients, web browsers, hard drives and other noteworthy data hubs on your PC.

  1. Ransomware

Ransomware is another type of malware, which is commonly deployed to extort money from owners of infected PCs. Typically, an infected PC prompts up a ransom message; requesting the victim to pay up or face the consequence(s).

Moreever, this malware is often injected into a PC connected to another, over Wi-Fi or USB, or via email or insecure websites. Often times, ransomware run side-by-side with spywares and vice versa.

  1. Hijackers

Hijackers are designed to take control of a target computer, particularly the browser. When this happens, your browsing experience is greatly compromised – preventing you from accessing certain sites, or redirecting you to other sites.

  1. Adware

These are basically designed to post unsolicited ads in your webpage, or even on programs that do not use internet.

Others include trojans, viruses, botnets, worms and more.

How to remove malwares?

A typical PC has at least one antivirus program installed. Unfortunately, however, most antivirus programs today lack the capacity to remove malwares.

Hence, if your PC’s running slow, or you notice some anomalies while surfing the net, you can install a standard malware scanner/remover like Malwarebytes. After installation, run the tool – to scan/remove malwares from your system.

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