What Are You Protecting Your Computer From?
When you buy anti-virus software, do you actually know what you are protecting your computer from? Do you know your bots from your bootsector viruses? I have broken down the different types of malware and viruses, so you know why your computer is at risk.
Trojans: Trojans are named after the wooden horse the Greeks used to infiltrate Troy. Trojans are another type of malware that not only look legitimate, but actually appear to have a desired and useful function. Users are usually tricked into loading and activating it onto their systems and following the activation it can perform any number of attacks on the host including pop-ups, editing desktops, deleting files, stealing data as well as creating back doors for malicious users to gain access to your system.
Worms: Worms may arrive from clicking on an infected email or another vulnerability in the system and they do not require the help of a host in order to propagate. A worm is a program that distributes copies of itself i.e. through emails or disk drives, allowing it to travel unaided. A worm can do a lot of damage to the computer’s contents and security.
Bots: Bots can actually be used for either good or malicious use. However, a malicious bot is self-propagated malware which runs automated tasks designed to infect a host and connect back to a central server, from which a bot can launch broad-based attacks. A typical use of a bot is to gather information or interact automatically via instant messaging services.
Now onto the viruses…
Bootsector Virus: A bootsector virus is normally spread through floppy disks by attaching themselves to the first part of the hard disk that is read by the computer upon reboot.
Macro Virus: Generally macro viruses tend to infect documents such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel and will then spread to other similar documents. They use another application’s macro programming language to distribute themselves.
Memory Resident Viruses: MRVs are initiated from a virus that is running on the computer and they stay in memory after the initiating program closes.
Rootkit Virus: Rootkit viruses are normally installed by trojans and disguised as computer operating system files. They are undetectable viruses that attempt to allow someone to gain control of a computer system.
Polymorphic Viruses: A virus like this not only replicates itself and creates multiple files of itself, but changes its digital signature every time it does replicate, which makes it hard for less sophisticated antivirus software to pick them up.
Logic Bombs/time bombs: These are types of viruses that are programmed to initiate when a certain event occurs or at a specific time, just like a bomb. An example of a logic bomb could include a virus that deletes all of your photos on Halloween or an important database getting deleted when an employee leaves.