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Anti-Malware for Businesses – Malware Explained

 

This week in the Geek Guru Blog, we’ll be taking a look at malware, the impact it can have on your business, and the steps you can take to protect yourself, at home and at the office.

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Malware is an all-encompassing term for malicious software and code out there that’s designed to negatively impact computer systems in one way or another. There are various forms of malware; most people who know how to use a computer are aware of at least one type, the virus. However, there are many more different kinds, all designed to do something slightly different.

In true Geek Guru style, we’ve decided to cut down the jargon and present these different types in a way that’s clear and straightforward. It’s often much easier to understand how you are protected by security software when you’re aware of the type of threats you are protected against, and how they work.

 

  • Viruses – A cover-all term for most types of infectious code. A virus will, when run, replicate itself by injecting its malicious code into other files. They can work in many different ways, but the defining characteristic is that a virus will install itself and replicate itself without the user knowing, but requires a file to be executed (launched or run) by a user in order to activate. While the term “computer virus” does have a specific definition, many people use it to encompass all of the malware types we mention in this article.
  • Worms – These are portions of malicious code or software that seek to accomplish the same things a virus does, but unlike a virus, they do not require user interaction in order to copy themselves. You do not need to click anything for a worm to replicate itself, once on a machine it can be completely autonomous, and easily spread over a network.
  • Keyloggers – These exist for one sole purpose – to log keystrokes on your computer with the goal of stealing valuable information. As you type, your keystrokes are recorded as data files and sent to wherever the keylogger is programmed to send them, meaning they could steal passwords, credit card numbers and other forms of sensitive data you input using the keyboard.
  • Trojans – Also known as Trojan Horses, so named because they disguise themselves as something normal or desirable (such as free software) in order to get users to download or install them. They can contain malicious code themselves or they can be used as a delivery mechanism for viruses, spyware or adware. They can also be used to turn computers into “zombie” machines for use in botnets.
  • Rootkits – Hiding malicious code from the user is sometimes essential for the proliferation and existence of a piece of malware. Sometimes a virus can seem incredibly hard to completely remove, or may come back seemingly from nowhere – this is nearly always because of a rootkit. Rootkits exist to do this job – they hide processes, files and sometimes even themselves from ordinary users so that they are not detected, and they try to avoid removal by antivirus programs. If a certain process critical to the malware is stopped or removed, the rootkit may reproduce it or restart it.
  • Backdoors – These open virtual “doors” into an infected machine, to allow access from other malicious software, interference from external sources such as hackers, or allow information to be sent out without the user’s knowledge (such as information from keyloggers).
  • SpywareDesigned to spy on the user through monitoring activities such as browsing habits, time spent on certain sites, links clicked, searches performed, logins, passwords, active software on a user’s computer, technical specs of the infected computer and other information that can be profitable to the spyware vendor or useful to marketers.
  • Adware – Mostly irritating rather than actually dangerous, adware (as its name suggests) shows unwanted advertisements to the user, usually in the form of a distracting pop-up window.

All types of malware can lead to theft or destruction of important or sensitive data. They can also lead to greatly reduced PC performance due to computer resources being used by malware, or reduced internet connection speeds due to uploading/downloading data. Imagine a scenario in which you have an office network of 50 computers, all infected with malware, all uploading or downloading data at the same time over the same connection. That would slow anything down to a crawl!

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At Geek Guru we’re committed to doing the best we can to ensure this doesn’t happen to our clients. We offer several solutions, suitable for many sizes or types of business, and we even offer 100% managed solutions – meaning you won’t have to lift a finger to keep your internet security software up to date, or manage possible threats. We’ll do it all for you and notify you if there’s anything you should be worried about or anything that requires your attention.

Be sure to read the rest of this week’s posts which will focus on what these threats could do to your IT, things you can do to prevent these threats, available software and the services we offer to help.

For more advice or information, call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted on by Emily
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