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Learning the rogues’ gallery of malware

By Staff | Sep 27, 2018

In my last column, I talked about installing Malwarebytes on your Mac and PC. This program doesn’t protect you, however.

The first thing malware does is disable your virus protection program, whether it be Norton, McAfee or any other one. You could be displaying virus symptoms, run Norton or McAfee all day long, and it won’t get rid of it. But if you download and install Malwarebytes, then run this program, it will remove the virus or malware that prevents your antivirus program from working. Then you can go ahead and run your antivirus program and do a full system scan. It may find more viruses or malware hidden deeper within your system.

There are many different types of infections out there, and here are some of them. These are the most common offenders in the rogues’ gallery of malware:

Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements up on your screen to trick you into installing it on your PC, tablet or mobile device.

Spyware is malware that secretly observes the computer user’s activities without permission and reports it to the software’s author.

A virus is malware that attaches to another program and, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and infecting them with its own bits of code.

Worms are a type of malware similar to viruses, self-replicating in order to spread to other computers over a network, usually causing harm by destroying data and files.

A Trojan, or Trojan horse, is one of the most dangerous malware types. It usually represents itself as something useful in order to trick you. Once it’s on your system, the attackers behind the Trojan gain unauthorized access to the affected computer. From there, Trojans can be used to steal financial information or install threats like viruses and ransomware.

Ransomware is a form of malware that locks you out of your device and/or encrypts your files, then forces you to pay a ransom to get them back. Ransomware has been called the cyber criminal’s weapon of choice because it demands a quick profitable payment in hard-to-trace cryptocurrency.

Rootkit is a form of malware that provides the attacker with administrator privileges on the infected system. Typically, it is also designed to stay hidden from the user, other software on the system and the operating system itself.

A keylogger is malware that records all the user’s keystrokes on the keyboard, typically storing the gathered information and sending it to the attacker, who is seeking sensitive information like usernames, passwords or credit card details.

Malicious cryptomining, also sometimes called drive-by mining or cryptojacking, is an increasingly prevalent malware usually installed by a Trojan. It allows someone else to use your computer to mine cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Monero. So instead of letting you cash in on your own computer’s horsepower, the cryptominers send the collected coins into their own account and not yours. Essentially, a malicious cryptominer is stealing your resources to make money.

Exploits are a type of malware that takes advantage of bugs and vulnerabilities in a system in order to allow the exploit’s creator to take control. Among other threats, exploits are linked to malvertising, which attacks through a legitimate site that unknowingly pulls in malicious content from a bad site. Then the bad content tries to install itself on your computer in a drive-by download. No clicking is necessary. All you have to do is visit a good site on the wrong day.

Okay, after reading all that tech stuff and popping a few aspirins, I have some good news for all you iBook readers. You can now scroll down the pages instead of swiping to the left to see another page.

To use this new feature, open up any book; at the very left side of the screen, just tap until a menu shows the “aA” sign at the top right. Tap on the font icon, then tap on “Scrolling View.”

Send your computer-related questions to mauimist8669@yahoo.com.