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Virus

Other types of Malware  

Within the malware classified as classic malware, there are other types which we describe below: Virus, Rootkits, Adware, Cookies, Exploits, Dialers...

Rootkits

These are programs designed to hide objects, such as processes, files or Windows Registry entries. This type of software is not malicious in itself, but is used by malware creators to cover their tracks in infected systems. There are types of malware that use rootkits to hide their presence on a system.

In 2005, the first examples of malware that used rootkits (as external tools or techniques within its code) emerged in order to evade detection. Bots, adware and spyware added these characteristics to their own, a trend that has continued to increase.

Similarly, these programs go hand-in-glove with the new cyber-crime malware dynamic: for malware to be exploited for financial gain, stealth is vitally important. Rootkits enable malware to remain hidden on a computer for much longer without being detected.

Exploits

This is a technique or program that exploits a security flaw -a vulnerability- in a certain communication protocol, operating system or IT tool.

This flaw allows operations that can cause abnormal functioning of the application and can be caused intentionally by malicious users, allowing them to execute code remotely, launch denial of service attacks, disclose information or escalate privileges.

Adware

Adware programs display advertisements associated to the products or services offered by the creator of the program or third-parties. Adware can be installed in a number of ways, in some occasions without users’ consent, and either with or without users’ knowledge of its function.

The classification of this type of program is controversial, as there are those who consider it a type of spyware. While this may be true to a certain extent, adware programs, as such, are not used with criminal intent, but to advertise products and services, and the information collected does not include users’ bank details, but web pages visited or favorites, etc.

Dialers

Generally, a dialer tries to establish a phone connection with a premium-rate number.

However, dialers only affect computers that use a modem to connect to the Internet, as it modifies the phone and modem configuration, changing the number provided by the ISP (Internet Service provider), which is normally charged at local rates, for a toll-rate number.

This type of malware is gradually disappearing as the number of users with modem connections decreases.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files stored on a computer by the Internet browser when visiting web pages. The information stored by cookies has a number of objectives: it can be used to personalize web pages, to collect demographic information about visitors to a page or to monitor statistics of banners displayed, etc.

For example, in the case of a user that frequently visits a certain web page, the cookie could remember the user name and password used to log in to the page.

Though cookies do not pose a risk by themselves, malicious use by other software could threaten affected users’ privacy, as cookies can be used to create user profiles with information that the user is unaware of, and sent to third parties.

How can you protect yourself?

To protect yourself against this type of threats, we offer a series of practical tips:

  • Don’t download content from dubious or unknown websites.
  • Keep a close eye on downloads made over P2P networks.
  • Keep antivirus programs up-to-date and, if you don’t have an antivirus, you can install any of Panda Security’s solutions to give you full protection against these and other threats.
  • Run a free scan of your computer to check whether it is malware-free.
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