We both know that there are many security threats that can affect your computer. Every day, the number is increasing too. For instance, a decade back, ransomware attacks weren’t that popular. The case was similar for Identity Theft attacks as well. As a security-conscious user, you should know about these different kinds of security threats. In some cases, you will need specific and dedicated solutions to get rid of such issues. In this article, we are here to help you educate yourself about the threats.
We can talk about the common types of security threats in computer. Some of them are carried out offline, while others are done with your online digital life. So, make sure that you know about these issues quite well so that you can take the right actions for your security.
Malware – the Term
Many people believe that Malware is a particular type of threat. It’s actually the other way round. Malware is a common term used to identify malicious codes or programs that may impact your computer. in simpler words, Malware is anything that can rattle your cage of security. Almost every offline threat you find in PCs is a malware, because of the actions involved. So, the next time someone talks about Malware, try to have a broadened perspective about threats. We hope that makes sense.
#1 Computer Viruses
Virus is a term that is used interchangeably with Malware, which is a wrong concept for that matter. If you’d not know, Virus is a particular type of malware that infects Windows computers. The working process of a Virus is simple: it can infect malicious line/lines of code into another installed application. So, when your PC starts up, the malicious action will also take place. When compared to other threats, Virus is known for their rapid rates of spreading. Talking of the method of infection, most ways are offline. Virus is one of the oldest forms of computer security threat, but still popular and relevant. Viruses can be used for different purposes, the major one being the creation of loopholes. Some viruses can also steal data from installed programs and your PC itself.
#2 Trojan Horse
The idea of Trojan Horse goes back to the myth of the War of Troy. In case if you do not know the story, one Trojan Horse was presented by Greeks. Although it seemed to be a gift, the Greek soldiers concealed them inside the structure, and made their way into the fort. Trojan Horse malware in computers also does the job of concealing and action. You cannot really identify a Trojan Horse by looking at it. Its real intentions are well hidden behind a seemingly-useful program. However, once you have installed and executed the program, the Trojan Horse will start its malicious actions. Once in a while, Trojan Horses are used for different actions such as Data Theft and Remote Access. Obviously, Trojans can do more harm than viruses. So, this is a threat you should be really conscious about.
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The concept of Spyware is self-explanatory. It is commonly used by hackers and companies to spy on users, without them knowing. Just like a human spy, spyware gets installed on the targeted computer and works with no loud signals. That is, the targeted user cannot detect its presence by merely looking at the PC. Even so, Spyware programs will be used to steal a variety of data, such as keystrokes, files and driver data. In other words, the hacker can have enough information about the user and device in a lesser time period. It’s also a bit hard to identify the presence of spyware. Because, you will have to look out for unidentified consumption of resources and internet traffic. Spyware infects your computer through methods like phishing, unwanted downloads, pirated websites and offline methods like USB Drive.
Also Read: Difference: Antivirus and AntiSpyware
You might have heard about Adware, but the consequences are tougher than you think. First of all, Adware is meant to display a lot of advertisements throughout your computer — even in the places you have never imagined. We mean everywhere, including your File Explorer, Web Browser and some other software. In an extremely simple version, your computer becomes miserable. But, wait, there’s another bad news. Adware can also be used to steal information from you, by working in the background. So, by infecting your PC with some adware, you are risking your computer usage as well as privacy. As you can guess, adware is spread via methods like malicious downloads and browser extensions.
Phishing isn’t technically a malware. It’s more of Social Engineering, which is made to steal information from users out there. Here, information signifies online account credentials, banking details and others. It works by creating a seemingly-same but bogus site for popular social networks and banking websites. As far as the user can see, these sites cannot be identified. So, as it happens, users tend to provide their username and passwords in the website. The rest is history: their accounts get compromised, data stolen and money lost. The best way to prevent these attacks is to educate yourself. When you get the next email from your bank to log in, double-check the sender details and website looks.
Also Read: What is Phishing and How you can Avoid It
We all store confidential information in computers, and Ransomware exploits this possibility. Ransomware is working on the process of locking up your data and asking some ransom to get it back. Technically speaking about Ransomware, it will encrypt all your computer or some particular files. To have access back to data, it requires some payment for the hacker. At the end of the day, you will lose some money and there’s no surety about getting your access back. In short, Ransomware attacks are somewhat irrevocable. There is nothing you can do about it; so, it’s always recommended to stay out of the trouble.
- How to Clean up a Ransomware infected Registry/Computer
- How to Identify which Ransomware has Infected your Computer
Let’s Wrap Up
We know the list isn’t complete, and it never can be. There are sub-classifications for every threat we talked about here. Also, there are thousands of newer threats like worms, rootkits, riskware etc. So, if you believe security is necessary, you should better get the right protection suite. You can either go for an antivirus suite or anti-malware. There are also some dedicated protection suites against ransomware and adware.
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