Malware is software designed to cause damage to a computer, server or computer network.
Common Types of Malware
This is one of the oldest and most common forms of malware. A computer virus modifies files on a computer in such a way that when a legitimate file is executed, the virus is also executed. Viruses are hard to clean up because they are executed from legitimate programs. To help prevent viruses attacking your computer it is essential that you have a recognised anti-virus program running on your computer and that it is updated regularly.
The main difference between a virus and a worm is that the worm has the ability to self-replicate. Unlike computer viruses a worm can spread to other systems and networks without end-user action. Having an up-to-date anti-virus application will help protect your computer from worms.
These are malware programs that encrypt your data and hold it for ransom. Over the last few years this type of malware has become very common and sophisticated. Social engineering techniques are used to trick victims into downloading the ransomware. The best defense against ransomware attacks is to backup your files regularly. Under no circumstances should you pay a ransom if your computer is affected as there is no guarantee you will get your data released.
- Fileless malware
Traditional malware travels and infects new systems using files on the compromised computer. Fileless malware doesn’t directly use files or the file system. Instead it resides in the computer’s memory and is spread from there. As this malware resides in memory it makes it more difficult for anti-virus applications to detect it.
Trojans masquerade as legitimate programs, but they contain malicious code. A Trojan is generally executed by some action initiated by the victim. Trojans can be delivered as attachments in email on by users visiting sites that contain malicious software. Having an up-to-date anti-virus application will help protect your computer from Trojans. Caution should also be taken when visiting unfamiliar websites.
Spyware on the other hand are programs that harvest information from your computer. This can include browsing habits and even key strokes. One emerging threat from spyware is the information harvested from the computer can be used in other types of attacks that require a level of social engineering.
How is Adware, Spyware, Malware & Ransomware installed on your device
These can be introduced to a computer by several means for example:
- Connecting an infected external drive to your machine (USB memory stick or external hard drive)
- Downloading an infected file from the Internet
- Clicking on a link supplied in a phishing email
- Downloading and opening an infected email attachment.
How to remove Malware
Anti-virus software is designed primarily to prevent infection, but also includes the ability to remove malware from an infected computer. All UL-owned devices should be running the University’s approved anti-virus software which is Kaspersky. Please visit our Kaspersky webpage for information on how to install Kaspersky and how to keep your Kaspersky up to date
The first step in removing Malware from your computer is to run a full scan using the Kaspersky anti-virus software.
Additional malware-removal tools are necessary because malware can hide itself, then re-emerge, re-propagate and re-infect, even if an identified virus file is flagged and removed by the anti-virus application.