Here are the 10 most common types of malware your device can get infected with:
- Mobile malware.
What is a RAT malware email?
A RAT malware email, or Remote Access Trojan is a type of trojan that allows the cybercriminal to remotely monitor and control the user's computer.
Can you get malware from opening an email?
Today it's no longer possible to simply download and install malware by simply opening an email. Instead, you would have to click on a link or attachment in your email and download it that way.
How worried are you that a malware might infect, or that it has already infected your device? The answer should be "very concerned." Every year, for instance, cybersecurity experts detect hundreds of thousands of new malware variants (439,854 in 2019, according to Comparitech).
But don't worry, this article is here to help you learn more about the different types of malware, how malware infects your device and how it spreads, how you can detect it and how to get rid of it. So, if you want to save yourself from email malware, let's get right to it.
How Does Malware Get in Your Computer?
First, it's important to know how malware gets into your computer in the first place.
This usually happens when you visit a hacked website, download infected software from an unsecured source, or open a malicious email attachment.
92.4% of all malware is delivered via email, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (source: The Blueprint). This raises an important question:
Can you get malware by opening an email?
Fortunately, no. Simply clicking on a suspicious email won't get your device infected with malware, whether you are using Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or some other email client. This is because emails are nothing more than text files or web pages (HTML documents) and most viruses need to be activated by clicking, opening, or downloading a malicious link or attachment in your email.
So how does malware spread then?
There are a few ways that malware can infect your computer:
- By exploiting a security vulnerability in your software to get unauthorized access.
- Through a backdoor in your software or hardware. Manufacturers are often incentivized in different ways by the government to "leave" backdoor encryption.
- Via a drive-by download. A "drive-by download" usually happens without the knowledge of the user when they visit a malicious website on the Internet.
- By abusing a setup in which all computers are connected to the same network and are using the same OS - homogeneity.
- Through a cybercriminal gaining privileged access to a computer or a network (usually admin access). This is called privileged escalation.
What are the Different Types of Malware?
Now that you have a better understanding of how malware can infect your device, it's also important to know what are the different types of malware that you should keep an eye out for.
First, let's talk about the most common types of malware:
A Trojan virus got its name by essentially disguising itself inside some other software that a user downloads and installs. As such, Trojans can hide in free apps, video games and other files.
One particular type of trojan is the RAT malware. A Remote Access Trojan is a type of malware that allows the hacker to monitor and control your device remotely. This basically means they can open your documents at will, download malicious software to your computer, or even take full control of your cursor. This most often happens when you give remote access to a scammer.
Worms are one of the oldest type of malware and have been around since the 1990s. Their main characteristic is that they can spread incredibly fast (they are self-replicating) and usually don't need any action from the end-user. Instead, they exploit the vulnerabilities of the system they are targeting.
When we talk about malware, we usually mean computer viruses. These got their name by being able to "spread" to other files in the computer, like a virus. They usually fall into the following three categories: system infectors, macro viruses and file infectors.
Grayware is an umbrella term for malware that is not necessarily malicious, but that can lead to decreased computer performance (slowing it down most likely) and security risks. This includes adware, which is intended to display unwanted advertisements on your computer and spyware, which allows the hacker to keep track of your Internet activity.
According to Mimecast's The State of Email Security 2020 report, 51% of organizations have experienced a business-disrupting ransomware attack in 2019.
Ransomware is one of the most feared (and rightly so) types of malware email and it works by preventing the user from accessing a file or other data unless they pay a ransom to the criminal, which today they most often demand in bitcoin.
Malvertising uses otherwise legitimate ads to deliver malware to the victim's computer. So, when the user clicks on the ad, a code that the hacker previously placed there will either redirect the user to a malicious website or directly install malware on their device. This is often done via a "drive-by download."
Rootkits represent not just a single malware, but a collection of the same that can give unauthorized access to a computer. The biggest problem with rootkits is that they are difficult to detect as they can trick the AV software.
Once the rootkit is installed, it will most often serve to open invisible browsers and click on ads and that way generate profit for the attacker using your computer.
Although bots are not malicious per se and are often used for legitimate purposes, cybercriminals can still use them to perform all kinds of malicious acts, including:
- Flooding a website with traffic and bringing it down (DDoS).
- Repeatedly clicking on an ad to generate profit for the hacker (ad click fraud).
Collecting email addresses and sending email spam (spambots).
Criminals often disguise keyloggers as an email from your bank or another service in which they provide a fake login page. Once the user enters their credentials (username and password), a keylogger will record every stroke, including which letters are capitalized.
- Mobile malware
Mobile devices are also not immune to malware. In fact, Android-powered smartphones are a very common target for cybercriminals (much more so than iOS ones) as today a lot of users have "gone mobile."
How to Detect and Remove Malware from Your Computer?
Okay, now that you know what different types of malware are there and how they can infect your computer or network, how do you find and remove malware from it?
Unfortunately, this is becoming more difficult as cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to social engineering and are creating malware that is increasingly harder to detect.
Fortunately, a good AV program should be able to pick up malware in your computer and allow you to quarantine and remove it from the system.
When an antivirus detects a threat, it will go through a database of already known threats and try to match the malware it finds on your computer with one of them. If the malware does not match any known threats, the AV will label it as "win:32malware-gen. This means that a 32-bit file on your computer could be a malicious software.
That said, this might not always do the trick as some types of malware are capable of tricking the antivirus software, making it unable to detect it, or it won't see it as malicious.
This is why you also need to work on prevention and backing up your important data. Keep your software patched and monitored for any vulnerabilities that a cybercriminal might exploit.
Finally, make sure your employees are well-educated about keeping their computers and the system as a whole free from malware and make sure any vendors you work with do the same as they can inadvertently spread malware to your network.
Hopefully, you have already installed anti-malware software that checks for viruses in email attachments. Now you also need a secure email that will help you keep your email data encrypted, like Liverado: Armored Email.