Viruses, Ransomware, Malware: What is the Difference?

Virus, Malware and Ransomware: Clarifying the Differences

  1. Spyware — a program used by cybercriminals to spy on the victim’s device. With its help, the attackers can steal names, social security numbers, credit card credentials, usernames and passwords. Having this information may be enough for breaking into your digital environment.
  2. Bots — vicious malware that connects compromised computers to a central server. Together, all hacked computers form a botnet. Cyber criminals can control the affected computers in a botnet from a central device. Botnets may involve millions of computers, yet still remain undetected. At one point, when a target doesn’t suspect a thing, a hacker can use a botnet to send a phishing mail, infect your service with spam, steal your credentials and, finally, launch a massive denial of service (DDoS) attack.
  3. Rootkits — hostile programs that can remain in your computer while being undetected. A hacker can use a rootkit to gain privileged access, alter system configuration and download more malicious software.
  4. Worms — a type of malware that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer on the infected network. Worms do not need to attach themselves to any software program in order to cause damage. Once in the system, worms can delete, change, and steal the data as well as deploy more malicious malware.
  5. Trojan Horses — a type of malware that needs a host to attach to. A trojan horse can spread through phishing mail or a fake antivirus solution on a malicious web. Once trojans are installed, they hide in the legitimate program and start spying and altering data on the affected machine.
  6. Adware — malware you can find in malicious pop-ups. Those pop-ups may appear when you try to download free games or unlicensed software. Adware can bring relatively mild to medium performance degradation due to the extra load on your device lowering the speed of your machine or even downloading spyware.

What is a Virus?

  1. Myth: I can tell right away that a virus has hit my computer. — This is not true. Often, a virus sneaks in unnoticed, and you can never tell before you discover the damage it caused.
  2. Myth: I can’t download a virus from a credible website. — The truth is that hackers tend to infect reputable websites to compromise their future victims. You can get a virus by just viewing the malicious ad without even clicking on it.
  3. Myth: I am virus-protected if I use Apple OS. — Not true, hackers can modify a virus to invade any type of OS.
  4. Myth: I can safely open attachments if they come from trusted sources. — False, some viruses can infect contact lists. Thus, even an attachment from a friend or colleague can transport a virus.
  5. Myth: I shouldn’t be intimidated by a virus if I don’t keep important data on my computer. — Absolutely untrue! Hackers can use your device as a part of a botnet and launch attacks from your computer on other machines.
  6. Myth: I am fully protected from viruses if I use a firewall. — Unfortunately, firewalls can’t stop viruses from infecting your computer. Firewalls can filter your traffic and restrain unauthorized access. However, a virus still can get into your computer via phishing emails or infected websites.

What is Ransomware?

How Does Ransomware Infect Machines?

  1. Myth: Ransomware doesn’t attack single individuals; it’s just after the businesses. — False. Both individuals and businesses can fall victim to ransomware.
  2. Myth: I will certainly get my data back if I pay the ransom. — No, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee having your data back. In fact, often cybercriminals do not follow through on their promises. As a result, you may lose your money but never get your data the way it was prior to the attack.
  3. Myth: My data is safe if I have backups. — Not, exactly, in some cases ransomware can also encrypt backups. To keep your backups protected, follow the 3–2–1 approach and don’t share your backups with other users. Also, use immutable backup targets.

How Do I Detect Malware?

How do I Protect Myself from Malware?

  1. Don’t open emails or messages from unknown persons
  2. Scan free software before making the download
  3. Come up with strong passwords
  4. Update your credentials regularly
  5. Back up your data regularly
  6. Stick to the 3–2–1 rule

How do I Get Rid of Malware?

  1. Use antivirus to detect malware.
  2. If you find malware, delete it (The deletion should take place automatically. However, if this isn’t possible, ask your security vendor for assistance).
  3. Format the drive.
  4. Recover your data and reinstall programs.
  5. Figure out the reason for the infection.
  6. Educate employees at your organization about cybersecurity rules.
  1. Disconnect your computer from any networks.
  2. Make a photo of the log screen to find out the type of ransomware.
  3. Scan all disks and delete malware by using read-only media.
  4. Ask for a technician’s help if you have an issue.
  5. Don’t pay any ransom.

What is the Most Destructive Malware?








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