What is malware?
The word malware comes from the words ‘malicious software’. It aims to infiltrate or damage your computer or information system without your consent.
It is the main term used to talk about all computer threats. This is the broad category that includes things like Trojans, worms, computer viruses, adware, spyware or ransomware.
This does not refer to software that has some faulty lines of code that might expose information or leave a gap open for hackers to enter your system or gather information. The intent of the person behind the program is what’s important here.
What is a computer virus?
A computer virus’ main aim is to alter how a device works. It infects the files of a computer through malicious code.
It resembles the biological viruses which infect a cell, and in turn, spreads the virus to the rest of the cells of the organism.
In general, viruses are transparent and tend to travel within executable files such as Windows .exe. They can also do it with the names of other applications in an attempt to trick you and get you to run the program.
What is a Computer Worm?
The main difference with computer viruses is that it does not require user intervention or the modification of any existing file to infect a computer.
Worms replicate themselves and expand through the networks to which a device is connected. When it penetrates a computer, it tries to obtain the addresses of other computers through your contact lists to send them copies to try to infect them as well.
What is a Trojan?
While a virus is destructive in nature, a Trojan tries to pass unnoticed while accessing your device. Their mission is to open backdoors in your system and expose vulnerabilities so other malicious programs can access it.
Trojans will often come to you disguised as legitimate files. They will do it with executables that apparently will not do anything wrong when they are used, but they will immediately start working in the backend without you noticing.
What is Spyware?
It is usually installed on your computer by itself or via the interaction of a second application that launches it without you noticing.
The purpose is to collect information about the user or organization that owns a computer in an unauthorized manner. These programs monitor and collect data about all actions performed on a computer, its hard disk contents, the installed applications or the internet history.
What is Adware?
Its only mission is to get into your computer to showing you ads, either while you are surfing the internet (think popups), or while a program is running.
The reason why it is considered spyware is that some of these programs can collect and send your personal data to the designer.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware hijacks the data of a computer and demands money in return for releasing it.
These programs access your computer on the back of a computer worm or other malware. Once you encrypt your data it will block your computer and show you a warning message to inform you of the attack, that everything has been blocked and the terms of payment. The payment method is usually via anything from Paypal to bitcoins.