Malware 101: Knowing The Different Kinds Of Computer Infections

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

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When browsing the internet, it is always a good idea to be cautious. Every day roughly 60 billion emails are set, but a whopping 97% of them are spam. Sometimes clicking a spam link can lead to your computer becoming infected with malicious software, or malware. Malware is a very general term for things like viruses, spyware, and trojans, each of which attacks your computer in different ways, often resulting in necessary PC repairs. But what is malware?

Viruses
A virus is a specific type of malware that hooks onto existing operating system functions, then duplicates. Viruses can slow down your computer, corrupt files, and spread easily to other computers in the network. Though an antivirus software might be able to track down and kill a virus in its tracks, some are too complicated. If this happens to you, computer repair services might be your best solution.

Spyware
This type of malware ranges from passive and unintrusive to utterly diabolical. Spyware acts exactly how you would expect. It spies on your computer. Sometimes this means that it tracks and collects your browser data to sell to advertisers, while other times it can track every keystroke and mouse click. Really nasty spyware might even turn on your webcam without you ever knowing. Spooky, right?

Trojans
A trojan, named after the mythological trojan horse military tactic, is a piece of software that you consented to download, under the pretext that it would be something desirable. Once downloaded, it proves to be something else entirely, often malicious in nature. Cleaning computers from trojans is one of the more common computer services for businesses.

Scareware
This is one of the types of malware closely associated with trojans. Scareware looks and acts like a real download, but then comes with pop-ups that scare the user. For example, say you downloaded an antivirus software from a website. You open up the program and it appears to be an antivirus software. Then it tells you that your computer is massively infected and that you’ll need to pay a lot of money to fix the issue. Yikes.

The real issue at hand is that it can be quite difficult to uninstall all of these malware infections without advanced knowledge of PC repair and the required diagnostic tools. For this reason, many individuals use a computer repair company to keep their PC running strong.