Malware is an abstract term, which describes a wide range of malicious programs. It includes trojan horses, worms, rootkits, ransomware, PC threats and even potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Malware is usually installed on the system without user’s knowledge or approval by exploiting security vulnerabilities. Only updated anti-malware program is capable of preventing its infiltration. Security experts urge people to consider installing a reputable application for protecting their computers and avoiding malware attacks.
Malicious software is mostly used to initiate unauthorized activity on computer and help for its owner to generate revenue. It can be designed to steal personal information, like logins and banking data, or it can try to encrypt precious files on computer and make their owner to pay a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. Nevertheless, some versions of malware (adware, browse hijackers and similar) are used just for showing promotional content on people’s computers and generating pay-per-click revenue. Almost each of malware threats has ability to block legitimate security software. In addition, they can also update themselves, download additional malware or cause security holes on the affected PC system.
Evolution of the malware
The first example of malware showed up in 1986, when two brothers from Pakistan released a program, known as Brain. It is considered the first virus, which was compatible with IBM. It spread thru floppy disks and caused only annoying messages on the affected PC system.
The next serious threat showed up only in 1992. It was called as Michelangelo and seemed to be much similar to viruses of our days. According to various reports almost 20 thousand of PC users reported about the data loss because of Michelangelo virus.
With the beginning of 2000s, security experts started noticing a serious growth in malware. Modern viruses, such as worms and trojans, started spreading around. Infected PCs were connected into botnets and turned into huge revenue machines.
Nowadays, malware authors are getting more and more serious and release more modern versions of viruses. It has been reported that, since 2005, the amount of malware has increased from 1 million to 96 million of different versions. Quite impressive, right?
Ways how malicious programs infiltrate computers
Malware can be spread using various techniques. Here are the most common ones:
- Illegal and infected websites. Illegal websites have always been considered the main participant in the distribution of malware. The majority of such sites are filled with pornographic content but you can also get infected after visiting a gaming, torrent or even a legitimate news website that was compromised by attackers who injected the malicious script in it.
- Infected emails and attachments: Typically, this malware distribution scheme relies on botnets that are used to send misleading email messages to recipients. These fake emails are supposed to convince people to click the malicious link or download an infected executable file to the system. Nowadays, hackers have increased the amount of fake email messages because people can hardly check their trustworthiness before downloading them to the system.
- Malvertising. Malware can also be spread thru malicious ads and links and , in fact, they have been actively exploited nowadays. These links and ads can disguise themselves as updates for needed software, information about price reductions and offers to take a part in the survey. As soon as victim clicks such link or ad, malware enters the system and causes unwanted activity.
- Other malware. Different types of malware can be used for downloading additional threats to the affected PC system. If your computer is infected with ransomware or rogue anti-spyware, you may discover that another malware virus, such as adware or browser hijacker, was installed on your computer without your authorization as well.
Symptoms of the malware attack
One of the most common signs showing that your computer is infected with malware is fake security notifications and misleading warning messages on computer’s desktop. In this case, you can be infected with one of these malware versions:
The first group of threats seeks to scare users into believing that they are dealing with a reputable security utility that is trying to warn them about viruses. In reality, all these warnings are used just to scare users into purchasing a fake anti-spyware. The second group of malware shows a single warning, which claims that user needs to pay a fine for illegal activity on the Internet. In addition, ransomware can also encrypt your important files and then make you to pay the ransom.
If you have been suffering from redirects on web browser or an excessive amount of pop-up ads, then you are dealing with such malware:
These malware programs rely on pay-per-click scheme, so their main aim is to hijack the web browser and display different kinds of pop-up ads. After clicking them, user is redirected to sponsored websites. The majority of such programs are not malicious but they have been disrupting their victims with undesirable and sometimes even harmful content.
System slow downs, stability issues, performance-related problems and blocked security applications can also be noticed after the infiltration of malware. Unfortunately, this symptom can hardly help you to identify the type of your malware because almost each of viruses:
Each of these malware threats are capable of using considerable amount of computer’s resources. In addition, such programs can easily block legitimate security software and try to prevent their removal in this way. Beware that ignoring these symptoms can lead you to additional issues, like identity theft or the loos of your banking data and other information. Finally, keeping malware on the system can make your computer vulnerable to other threats in the future.
PC Optimizer Pro. This program can also be added to the “fake PC optimization tools” category because it claims to be capable of improving computer’s performance, but it has nothing to do with that. Its activity is based on useless system scanners that report about invented registry entries, bad files and other system components that are supposedly slowing PC’s performance. Once it convinces its victims that they have to remove this “harmful” data from their computers, PC optimizer redirects them to its purchase page. Of course, you should never pay for its licensed version because you won’t see any improvement after downloading it to your computer.
COM surrogate virus. This is especially dangerous example of malware, which has also been categorized as “Trojan Horse”. When inside the system, it can easily change computer’s settings, monitor your activity on computer and steal your important data. It can also download other threats to the system without your authorization and knowledge. This virus has been actively spread with the help of fake Flash and FLV Player updates, so it is believed that there are thousands of computers that have already been infected with COM Surrogate malware.
DNS Unblocker. No matter that the most of adware-type malwares can hardly initiate serious issues on your computer, DNS Unblocker should be avoided. First of all, it can cause an excessive amount of pop-up ads and similar commercial content on each of your favorite websites. Secondly, it may use these ads for redirecting you malicious websites. Finally, it can collect information about your browsing activity on the Internet and then share this data with related (and unrelated!) parties.
Malware removal options
The most reliable way to remove malware is use to a reliable anti-malware tool. Only automatic removal option can help you to identify each of malware versions and eliminate each of malicious components. In addition, you may be dealing with the seriously difficult type of malware, which may block your security software. If our recommended tool failed to help you fix your computer, you should perform these alternative steps:
- Repeat installation of anti-spyware. Then rename executable file and launch it;
- Reboot computer to Safe Mode and repeat installation of anti-malware;
- Install alternative anti-malware program;
- Use SpyHunter Spyware HelpDesk feature;
- Contact 2spyware customer service thru “Ask Us” section.
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Database of malware
Information updated: 2017-05-11