What are Ransomware, Viruses, & Malware?

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their computer, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files unless a ransom is paid.


Ransom prices vary depending on the ransomware variant and the price or exchange rates of digital currencies. Ransomware operators commonly specify ransom payments in bitcoins. Recent ransomware variants have also listed alternative payment options such as iTunes and Amazon gift cards. It should be noted, however, that paying the ransom does not guarantee that users will get the decryption key or unlock tool required to regain access to the infected system or hostaged files.

They get us all!

Has your computer made you feel like any of the people below?

Many viruses attach themselves to legitimate executable files on a host computer that allow the virus to be loaded when the user opens the file. A virus generally will be activated when it is loaded into a computer’s memory, and then it may continue to spread its viral code into a number of other programs and files stored on the host computer. The computer’s programs may still continue to work normally, but also spread the virus’ code to other machines on the same network, or machines that use the same storage devices. Some viruses use polymorphic code to avoid detection by antivirus software, modifying their decryption modules so that the virus changes each time it infects a new host. Software developers that produce programs with large numbers of bugs are prime targets for viruses because they exploit these bugs in order to spread. Since viruses are built to avoid detection, antivirus software can create bait files that get the virus to infect it in order to study the virus or to discover and remove it. It is always a good idea to keep antivirus software up to date for protection against new viruses.

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Viruses

A computer virus is a program that spreads malicious code by copying itself and infecting host computers. Although some viruses are latent, others can corrupt data or impede system performance. The term is specific, distinguished by how viruses are distributed (through downloads, email attachments, or removable media such as CDs, DVDs, or USB drives), but is often used as a catchall, much like the word “malware.”


Malware

Adware
Typically, adware components install alongside a shareware or freeware application and bring targeted advertisements to your computer. These advertisements create revenue for the software developer. Adware displays web-based advertisements through pop-up windows or through annoying advertising banners.


Malware
A generic term used to encompass malicious spyware, including adware, Trojans, browser hijackers, keyloggers, dialers and tracking cookies.


Spyware
A stealthy application that makes use of your Internet connection, gathering and transmitting information on various activities you conduct on your computer to third-parties. This information is often collected and sent without your knowledge or consent. Like adware, spyware often installs as a third-party component bundles with a freeware or shareware application, which can make the distinction between the two somewhat ambiguous. In some places on the Internet, you may also see 'Spyware' used as a generic term to encompass malware.


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