Most computer and internet users have had their computer infected with malware in the past. We have all heard of terms like trojans, worms, spyware, ransomware and viruses but what is the difference between them? In this article, I will explain each type of malware and how to protect your business critical data from these cyber threats.

Malware - Malicious software designed to infect and harm your computer and possibly steal your private information. Malware includes Trojans, adware, ransomware, viruses, worms and spyware.

Trojan ' This is a type of malware is designed to be disguised as a safe and legitimate program which fools the user into installing it only to be incapacitated by it. Most Trojans make a "backdoor" to your computer that enables a hacker or cyber attacker to remotely control it. Trojans are usually used to steal personal and financial information. Antivirus software is a great way to prevent Trojans. Remember to never open suspicious or strange looking emails or attachments from questionable senders.

Virus ' A computer virus is a string of computer code that infects and damages computer operating systems and can spread file to file on a system or network. As each computer becomes infected, the virus spreads through the network within shared files. Antivirus software is the best way to protect your computer from a virus. Lookout for files that include ".exe" or a zipped file.

Spyware ' Hackers and cyber criminals use spyware to monitor your internet and computer activities to take your personal information and data with key loggers and other tools. Credit card information and banking login credentials are most commonly stolen from victims who are not even aware that their personal information was stolen until their bank or credit card company contacts them. PC slowdown is a common sign of spyware.

Not all Antivirus software is not designed to catch spyware so it's important to find an antivirus solution that can protect your computers and network from spyware.

Worms ' Like a virus, worms replicate and spread themselves from one infected computer to another. The major difference from a virus and worm is that a worm doesn't need human interaction to spread and replicate. Antivirus software and a firewall with deep packet inspection and Gateway Antivirus Services is a good way to block and prevent worms from infecting your network and computer systems.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their files, data and computer system. Ransomware forces its victims to pay a ransom fee ranging from $25 - $1000 via online payment methods in order to get access back to their computer systems, files and data. Keep in mind, paying the ransomware fee does not guarantee that you will get your data back. The Cryptolocker virus is actually ransomware which encrypts files. Cryptolocker has the ability to find network \ mapped drives and encrypt files and data on servers on your network as well.

Ransomware can be downloaded by users visiting malicious or compromised websites and some ransomware is hidden in email attachments. Antivirus software and a firewall with deep packet inspection and Gateway Antivirus Services is a good way to block and prevent ransomware from infecting your network and computer systems.

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