Website owners and administrators should always be on their guard against the threats posed by hackers and other cybercriminals. If these individuals are able to find their way into your site, the havoc they cause can run the gamut from petty vandalism to full-blown data theft. Malicious software, or “malware,” is among the most common tools cybercriminals use to infiltrate devices and websites and engage in data theft. Unsurprisingly, sites that develop a reputation for being malware hotbeds commonly experience rapid declines in visitor numbers and popularity. In the fight against malware, it pays to know your enemy. Educating yourself on the most common types of malware will ensure that you’re able to identify attacks and take the necessary measures to combat them. Below are five types of malware that every website owner should be wary of.
One of the oldest forms of malware, ransomware lives up to its name by holding devices hostage. Once ransomware finds its way onto a computer, it restricts the user’s access to both personal files and the internet. Upon opening their browser, victims are likely to find that the only sites they’re able to visit are those that pertain specifically to the piece of ransomware they’re dealing with. These sites will offer disingenuous solutions to the problem, such as bogus virus software or sham tech support numbers. These solutions invariably require victims to share credit card numbers and other sensitive financial data. Although ransomware is typically spread through downloaded files and link clicking, it can also be propagated via Flash and Java-based ads. In the interest of keeping ransomware off of your website, consider looking into cloud-based security solutions. You can read more by checking out a SiteLock review or their social media profile.
Arguably the most common variety of malware, adware has been a thorn in the side of site owners for over a decade. As the name suggests, this variety of malicious software is designed to peddle advertisements, which explains why most pieces of adware are sponsored and/or developed by advertisers. Once a device has been infected with adware, excessive pop-up ads for specific products and services are guaranteed to follow. Although the goals of adware developers typically aren’t as malicious as those of ransomware creators, dealing with adware can be extremely cumbersome. To make matters worse, it’s becoming increasingly common for adware to be packaged with spyware. This means that in addition to being bombarded with unwanted advertisements, many victims have their computer habits and online activity closely monitored.
Spyware, which is arguably the most well-known variety of malware, can be one of the most difficult to detect. Spyware typically finds its way onto websites and computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in certain programs and sneaking in as a package deal with legitimate pieces of software. True to its name, spyware thrives on monitoring victims’ computer activity, collecting keystrokes and harvesting important data, including financial information and passwords. In extreme cases, spyware has been known to modify the security settings of browsers and cause interference in network connections.
4. Trojan Horse
A Trojan horse is a type of malicious software that seeks to pull the wool over victims’ eyes. Like its namesake, this variety of malware typically comes disguised as an installation file for a legitimate program. However, once a victim unwittingly installs this “program,” an ill-intentioned third party gains access to their device and/or website. Once cybercriminals find their way in, data theft is generally the order of the day, although many of them won’t stop there. Data monitoring and software modification are other common consequences of a Trojan horse infection. In some instances, third parties will use this opportunity to install other pieces of malware on a device, thereby ensuring that victims are completely besieged.
Every year, the threat posed by malicious software becomes more serious. With hackers and malware developers working overtime in their fight against cyber security experts, website owners need to stay vigilant and keep a watchful eye out. Luckily, keeping your website malware-free is far from impossible. Having the right security apparatus in place and being familiar with common varieties of malware will serve you well in the quest for site security.