There are a lot of worrisome terminologies that we hear when it comes to cybersecurity. It seems like there’s something evil lurking behind every click. How do you know what type of cybersecurity measures to employ if you don’t know what’s threatening you? What exactly is the difference between malware, viruses, adware, spyware, and ransomware that are threatening our online security? And how do you protect yourself? We’re glad you asked.
Malware is loosely translated to “bad stuff.” Malware covers all of the threats that you face when you go online. When you hear about a new virus, adware, or ransomware that is threatening cybersecurity, we are talking about specific types of malware.
A virus was aptly named because it is a piece of malicious software that infects the host system and then spreads throughout the system via infected software to every computer that connects to your network. Sharing infected software is like cyber sneezing into your network, allowing the virus to spread. All you can do is hope that you have strengthened your networks immune system with antivirus software.
Adware is targeted ads that show up on certain websites. Once clicked, it’s like permitting more of the same. Although not all adware is malicious, it can feel like it, because adds may pop-up and interrupt your workflow and the performance of your computer.
Spyware is a type of malware used to study your online behavior and steal your data and personal information. Spyware is notoriously difficult to detect, making it incredibly damaging. Some types of spyware can also be used by employers to spy on their employees’ online activity. They may not be looking to steal your data, but it shows a lack of trust and distrust among employers and employees that will create a contentious working environment.
Ransomware is an increasingly more aggressive and advanced type of malware. You’ll know immediately that your system is infected with ransomware because you’ll wake up one morning and be completely locked out of your system. If you want to regain access, you have to pay a ransom. With a virus, you may still have limited function and be able to work while you work on removing the virus. With ransomware, you’re knocked out and forced to take a sick day. Avoid “forced sick leave” with ransomware protections.
Malware protection is the preventative care that we all need to avoid getting sick in the first place. Preventative measures are always cheaper and more effective than waiting until there’s a problem. Anti-malware solutions include regular back-ups, data recovery programs, firewalls, and antivirus software.
Talk to the IT experts at OnePointSync to get the right antimalware solutions to protect your data.