Privacy & Security / May 07 2018

Computer viruses, part 2: Types of viruses

We continue our deep dive into the world of malware with an overview of types of computer viruses.

In one of our last blogs, we explained a bit about the history of computer viruses and started off a list of different types of viruses. We discussed common computer viruses that spread rapidly, worms and Trojan horses. Let's continue.

4. Ransomware

We've already explained a bit about ransomware and how to avoid becoming a victim of it. It's considered one of the most destructive malware, mainly because it's gaining on popularity these days due to the ease of payments with cryptocurrencies. It blocks access to your files or your entire computer – basically taking it hostage until you pay a ransom fee. The worst part? You might not even get your files back despite paying the fee! A very well and recent known ransomware example is WannaCry from 2017.

5. Rootkits

This software will allow other malware to get into your system – working as a back door for them. The first one was NTRootkit in 1999. Because rootkits are especially sneaky and work in the background, you will probably not suspect that there's a disaster about to happen. How can they get into your computer? Whoever attacks your computer, will need root access. Once it's installed, it's often challenging to get rid of it. Some pesky rootkits require reinstalling the entire operating system.

6. Spyware

Though not exactly classified as malware, it can be just as dangerous and undesirable as viruses. The goal of this kind of software is to monitor and gather information from the system (computer or smartphone) without the person's knowledge. They might influence the performance of the machine, but the real danger is in the information they can gather (passwords, financial and personal information, etc.).

Well, this all sounds pretty horrible! How can you protect yourself from all the vicious attacks?

Well, by practicing basic online and computer hygiene (and no, that does not mean cleaning the keyboard, although that's highly advisable for different reasons), pick good passwords and make sure your files are safely backed up, so an attack on your system is not the end of the world at least from the perspective of all your files.

Stay safe out there!

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