What is Malware?

Malware are unwanted malicious programs that have been installed on your computer without your consent.There are many types of Malware, we'll talk about a few of the common ones like Rootkits, Viruses and Trojans in this FAQ...

We'll use the term "attacker" to mean either a person or progam that is beind installing the Malware.

AntiMalware software is used by the good guys to get rid of the Malware. In the Ol' days we used to call it "AntiVirus" software, but if you read on, you will find there are more nasties out there than viruses alone.

Its a serious growing issue. AVG claimed in 2011 that...

  • 99% of today's threats are web based and live on legitimate websites for sometimes less than 24 hours
  • AVG detects approximately 1 million infected websites per day
  • The average PC suffers over 60 malware attacks a day
  • 3.5 billion threats have been reported by the AVG community this year alone

What is a Rootkit?

A rootkit is a collection of programs that enable an attacker to obtain administrator-level access to your computer. A rootkit will hide the existence of certain processes or programs from normal methods of detection.

Once the rootkit is installed, it allows hides the attacker intrusion on your PC. They can hide applications or steal passwords without your knowledge.

Rootkit detection is difficult because they generally can hide from the anti-Malware software that is intended to find it. Detection methods include using an alternative, trusted operating system; behavioral-based methods; signature scanning; difference scanning; and memory dump analysis.

Rootkit removal can be complicated or practically impossible. This is becasue Rootkits generally reside deep in the operating system. Sometime reinstallation of the operating system may be the only available solution.

What is a Trojan?

A Trojan program will run as the user intends, but at the same time it will do a attack covertly. Trojans can make copies of themselves, steal information, or harm the computer system.

A Trojan could be a program that claims to get rid of viruses but instead introduces viruses onto the computer.

Software like some Free Registry Cleaner programs have been identified as Trojans.

What is a Virus?

Viruses are programs that attach themselves to executable files, the master boot record, scripts or MSOffice macros. They will spread through your computer and infect others.

So what - why should I care?

There are literially 1000's of malware programs published every day. Cyber Criminals can simply buy Malware from dealers to suit their purpose. Organised crime buys the passwords, credit card details and emails from the Cyber Criminals. They prey on the nieve computer users.

Malware is primarily meant to make money at your expense. Cleverly written Malware will remain hidden so that the attacker can continue to take advantage of your computer without you knowing. However your commputer may become slow if your computer is riddled with Malware.

Malware is cable of...

  • Logging your keystrokes and sending them to an attacker
  • Collecting your social network account passwords and sending them to an attacker. Thereby the attacker can log into, say, your Hotmail account and send out spam as if it was coming from you. 
  • Collecting your credit card number and expiry and sending them to an attacker. These are often on-sold to organised crime.
  • Collecting your banking log in and password.
  • Installing programs on your computer to target attack on other machines on the internet. Your computer can become a "Zombie" where it can be used to send spam or to attack other servers. in 2005, an estimated 50–80% of all spam worldwide was sent by zombie computers  [REF:PC World, 20/6/2005].

How do I stop it?

  • Install antiMalware software. Paid software is usually better than free - think about it - how can a company update software weekly without being paid? We recommend the full version of AVG Internet Security.
  • Keep your AntiMalware software updated. New malware threats occur daily.
  • Always apply updates to your software. Developers will send an update sometimes to fix a security issue. Updates from Windows, MSOffice, Adobe Flash, Java and Mozzilla products are critical keep you protected.
  • Backup your computer so that you can restore it in case you get Malware.