Skip to content
Step by Step Internet 🌐 Guides for learning to surf the Net

Malware: What is it, how does it affect your computer and how do you protect yourself from them?

Malware: What is it

Internet and computer science in general have endowed us with many benefits from their birth to now and each time it seems that they will be more and better. However, not everything is rosy, and just as there are many good things there are also others not so much .

In this sense, computer viruses are undoubtedly one of the biggest problems of the modern Internet, which no matter how much progress it makes, cybercriminals find ways to create programs that take advantage of the vulnerabilities of our systems .

Malware is one of the most problematic computer viruses and in this article we are going to show you everything you need to know about them , so that you learn to identify them and remove them from your computers to keep your data always 100% protected.

What is malware and how does it work in computing?

virus

A malware is a computer term used to identify programs, files and documents that contain malicious data that seek to enter our computers to steal user information. Its name is an acronym for malicious software, and although they are not always complete programs as such, they can wreak havoc.

Although when a person contracts any virus, his body begins to give clear signs that things are not right in the body, with a computer it is different. Many malware work in the background and are almost imperceptible since the operation of the equipment generally continues normally. .

When a hardware or system starts to fail due to malware, it is more than likely to be too late and it has already accomplished its objective. Therefore, the best weapon against them will always be prevention and proper equipment configuration to avoid infecting us .

What are the objectives of malware in our operating system?

solucionar-los-virus

The objectives of a malware are quite basic. In general, what is sought is to obtain information, rarely archiving of these characteristics has the direct intention of damaging a hardware or software , although many times the methods used to steal data, can cause damage at the system level.

Now why would someone want information about me? That is a question that many ask more innocently than they should.

The Internet is a gold mine, but also a snake nest. A person doesn’t need your bank details to get money from you , just discover a personal secret strong enough to blackmail with it.

In addition, you will be surprised to realize how strange some hackers are. This server, for example, was the victim of a spyware that sought to obtain the access data of my account to a popular MMORPG game , so that I could enter it and steal all the items and other accessories how much work it cost me to get.

A game is innocent, I just had to create a new user account and start from scratch. It was annoying but my life remained completely the same. A very different thing to what it would have been if that malware instead of getting my Metin2 account , had discovered some compromising secret (which I don’t have).

Types of malware How are these computer viruses classified?

Como-funciona-y-actua-un-virus-informatico

To say malware is to enter the most general term of what computer viruses are. There are many of them, so the need to segment and classify them according to their extension and nature was born . Here are the most important ones.

Infectious

Those programs that have the ability to replicate and infect another program within the same device are classified as infectious malware. These are by far the most risky and powerful, since they can undermine the entire system of multiple repeated files and terminal causing a logical failure that even ends up affecting the hardware.

Among the different types of infectious computer viruses, the computer worm is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous . These have the ability to enter our team due to system vulnerabilities, to subsequently multiply and infect the entire system.

The Morris worm is possibly the most remembered computer virus in this category , as it turned the internet upside down in the late 1980s, spreading across almost the entire network and affecting millions of users . The source code of this worm is in a museum.

Hidden

On the other hand there are hidden malwares, which are those that try to enter our system as cautiously as possible . These generally detect security vulnerabilities, to later sneak in and start making their own.

Although these viruses are easier to control because their risk is much lower than the previous ones. They continue to represent a real threat to user security.

In this category we can highlight malware as:

  • Trojan: The Trojan is a malicious program that pretends to be a legitimate one, fooling our system just like the Trojan horse in Greece once did, a story that in turn it gives rise to its name.
  • Backdoor: The back doors are malicious programs that seek to enter our system to later create a hidden access door that allows the hacker to access remotely to the affected device and monitor it to steal important information.
  • Self-downloads: These are viruses that we find on some websites. What they do is that when entering a portal, an unauthorized download is automatically started, which contains a spyware.
  • Rootkits: This is a technique used to Hide other malware. What it does is modify the operating system so that it does not show any indication that it is infected and so the virus can continue doing its work without interruptions.

For profit

Another category of computer virus are those that seek to make a profit from the user they are attacking, or at least automate processes in a corrupt way to monetize a portal.

In this sense the most popular are:

  • Advertising: These viruses are the most harmless, since they generally look for less personal data in our system, such as consumer habits on the internet or the user’s favorite websites to later sell that information to advertising agencies. Among them we have spyware, adwares or hijacking.
  • Passwords and important data : in this category we have essentially keylogers, which are malicious programs that can steal information and access credentials to platforms that can range from a video game or social networks, to banking and similar data.
  • Dialers: These are programs that use the connection of our internet or network provider mobile to make calls in the background, leaving the line open. Generally, the number they are calling gets benefits with the call, while the owner of the equipment will not have to pay all the cost of it.
  • Botnet: A botnet is a Synchronized computer network that is infected with a virus and is used to send bulk spam to other users to spread it and expand the network, or simply to perform more powerful attacks.
  • Rogue software : these are nothing more than viruses that make the user believe that his computer has a serious virus that can only be removed by a program. But the reality is that this information is false and users end up paying for a program they really didn’t need.

Grayware

This is a classification that is given to various computer programs or mobile applications that have the ability to camouflage themselves in the operating system on duty, to later download in the background a series of spywares and other malwares .

Who creates these malicious programs? Creators of computer viruses

Caracteristicas-virus-ciberneticos-de-Internet

Yes, it is a bit difficult to imagine who may be able to invest so much time in the development of a computer program. And the answer is not very difficult. The reality is that there is a guild of people out there who like to make a living in the easiest way possible .

The development of computer viruses is a very lucrative sector, since the amount of money that can be obtained from it is quite considerable. Also, with some imagination you can come up with many ways to make money stealing private information.

That is why thieves, scammers and all kinds of cybercriminals spend months of their lives developing programs that can circumvent the defenses of the most commonly used operating systems (which is not impossible, much less), to blackmail and sell the data of the affected users.

Is there any penalty for them in Spain?

In our country, this decade the penalties against those who use illegal software to enrich themselves have been hardened considerably, condemning them to jail for several years with high bail bonds to obtain probation. This not only happens here but throughout the EU, and especially in the United States of America .

The case with LATAM is different and there are not many countries with a clearly determined legal framework against such criminals.

How do I know if I have been infected with computer malware? Main clues

Utiliza un anti virus confiable

While the most powerful malwares are in turn the quietest, you can always recognize some signs that some of them are doing their thing.

Next, we present you the clearest signals you have to identify its indeed there is one on your computer:

  • The computer will slow down . If you have noticed for some time that your hardware is not performing as usual, there may be some malware in the background taking up too much processing. However, this is usually a bit ambiguous since a virus is not the only reason that can make your computer slower.
  • Hardware failures . You will find them at first as subtle failures, which will seem to have been repaired alone but will become more recurrent over time. If the keyboard does not mark some keys despite being in good condition, or the mouse pointer is not very precise, there may be a virus that is affecting a driver.
  • Software failures . That can be much more aggressive than the previous point, since they could go from causing unexpected closures of applications, to complete failures of the operating system.
  • Unauthorized actions . Your browser opens windows and tabs that you have not authorized or if during the game a game something hinders your user experience. It’s also possible that the browser’s homepage changes without your having done it.
  • Little storage available . You unreasonably notice that there is more space on your hard disk occupied than you remember, because software hosted on your disk has been replicated too much or is leaving many residual files.
  • Screen death In Windows, if the system damage is too great, you may start to see the so-called “blue screen of death” very often, which will force you to restart your computer and you will lose everything you are doing at that time. >
  • Antivirus damaged . The clearest sign that you have a malicious program is that the protection against them is deactivated and obsolete, without even being able to update it, which allows the virus to act at ease within the OS.

Although these symptoms are quite evident, the fact of not having any does not mean that you are clean. There are malware that are very silent, and their goal is simply to collect your data without taking up a lot of storage space or affecting the performance of the computer. However they are there, knowing us and hoping to find private information to use against us.

What are the main vulnerabilities that malware uses to attack our devices?

Malicious programs alone do not have the capacity to affect us, so they need to take advantage of some vulnerability of our OS to be able to initiate their attacks.

In that sense, the vulnerabilities that most potentiate malware are :

  • Software homogeneity : This refers to the fact that an operating system is used by multiple computers in a network. Thus, if the hacker manages to understand this OS, he can create malware that attacks any computer that contains it.
  • Software errors : these are more common than we think, especially when you have outdated programs. A simple bug in one of the files can be exploited by malware to enter it and start affecting its operation.
  • Overprivileged code : all operating systems usually give certain privileges to some programs, which allows them to perform certain tasks without even requiring user permission, such as a request to a server. In fact, malware works under this principle, and is programmed as a software with more privileges than the rest, making it once in the system can live in it with total freedom.

Tips to protect your computer from any computer malware and be sure to be infected

Fortunately for everyone on the internet, computer security has advanced a lot too, and it is increasingly difficult to develop malicious programs that really pose a threat to the integrity of your computer or information.

Yes, for that you will have to follow the advice we give you below :

Keep system and software updated

The teams that develop computer programs and operating systems work day and night to locate vulnerabilities before hackers, so that they can correct them before they take advantage of them.

For this reason, it is necessary that you always update each and every one of your programs, especially the operating system. Since these packages are where you will get the safest software version to date.

Antivirus and firewall

The antivirus and firewal keep inside a database of all the viruses that exist , so that when one of these enters your system, it will be detected immediately and subsequently blocked. This is the first line of defense of your computer, so it is important to have one installed and updated.

Antivirus can protect you from all kinds of threats, and although it has many detractors, it is undeniable that they are necessary to keep your system safe.

Avoid making illegal downloads

Yes, we all love free, whether they are video games, series, movies and so on, but these methods are not always safe, so it is best to always avoid them. Digital piracy is one of the greatest forms of cybercrime that exist, so it is more than likely that those behind these projects have more of a bad habit.

P2P download portals usually contain mined files of viruses, since many of these are not verified because there is no quality control in the content, but the intention is only and exclusively to obtain traffic.

Advertising blockers

Ads and pop-ups of unorthodox websites can be a real threat, since many of them usually direct you to download files without your permission or install a plug-in in your browser that subsequently hinders your user experience using it.

Fortunately, you can install an extension in your browser that blocks all ads and any other form of invasive advertising. The best known is Adblock.

Do not install programs of unknown origin

It does not matter if it is on your computer or on your mobile, be very careful with the programs that you install outside the recognized stores such as Google Play Store, Apple Store or similar, since these may have been modified to hide malicious programs that do yours without even noticing.

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Accept