Friday, February 25, 2011

Malware–What is it ? How to defend ?–A Complete Guide

malwareMalware is a big discussion today. One of the most searched question on google is “How can I get rid of a Malware ?”. So, What is Malware actually? How can it affect one’s computer? How to defend against these ? These are usual question everyone wants to know about. So, Today I am going to explain it completely so that you can understand its working and defend it. Malware is a big problem today. Many innocent users are getting affected by it. One can control your whole computer by simply installing it on your computer. I will explain each on these in steps so that it becomes easy to understand.

What is a Malware ?

A malware is a shorter version of ‘Malicious Software’. It is a software coded to execute certain programs which the user does not want to run. Its very harmful, Its effect can range from a simple prank by your friend to stealing your passwords by a hacker or using your computer as a bot for a DDoS attack. Then, how is it run without the knowledge of the user. Its usually hidden inside a software or a game or whatever. Say, someone says you that he is giving you a premium software which has been cracked to you for free. What do you do ? You simply install it. The moment you double click, the program starts installing, right? But, what you will not know is that some other hidden program too is being executed behind the screen. These malicious program can be coded such that they bypass your firewall, cannot be detected by you antivirus program and so on . . . Got how it actually works ?

What are different types of Malware?

So, next we move on next to the types of Malware.
  1. Viruses
    Viruses are created by us, humans for destructive purposes. They cannot spread by themselves. A spread just like how I told above, usually hidden inside a nice looking software or a game or anything. Viruses can be destructive. Suppose you are a programmer and can solve any kind of problem or in simple terms can develop a program. In the same way, anyone can program anything and can make you execute the same. understood ?
  2. Trojan Horse
    A trojan horse is not as effective as a virus and is usually used to prank on someone or do silly things like changing the wallpaper or disabling task manager or making your computer hang. It can also be used to do some serious things like stealing passwords, cookies, recording your keystrokes (Keylogger) and the list goes on . . .
  3. Worms
    A worm is a malicious program that can replicate itself and can spread by itself, unlike a virus where a human has to spread it. Once a worm is on a computer, it will send out copies of itself to various servers, other computers and so on . 
  4. Bacteria
         A bacteria is a simple code when executed will repeat itself and will eventually take up the whole memory !   All you computer resources, RAM, disk space will be exhausted. It can be coded in a notepad like this
goto Loop
save it as something.bat
Do not open it !       
What this piece of code does is, it opens notepad infinite times !!! and it takes up all the resources of your computer and makes your computer to hang.
Logic Bombs
Its a malicious program which will lie hidden until you perform a certain action. After you perform that action, the code is triggered and it gets executed. Say, the malicious program is not to be triggered until you open Firefox. After you click on firefox, say the program is coded to record your keystrokes and send it to a particular email address. This is how logic bomb works.
Combined Threat 
A combined threat (Blended Threat) is actually what it sounds like… It combines all of the above features and is made to execute at the same time. You can just imagine the amount of harm it causes to a computer.

How are Malwares Programmed ?

Malwares can be programmed using any programming language. Maybe C, C++, Python or anything else. VB can be used to make a program look more innocent and attractive, although API’s can be used for C. They can be programmed to be a simple prank or a deadly virus which can affect your hardware. Phishing techniques can be used to make a program look genuine.

Countermeasures to be taken

There can be thousands of countermeasures to be taken to defend a  malware. I am mentioning only a few of popular ones here.
1. Most of the malwares are usually spread on the net. Have a good site advisor to show you whether a site is trustful or not. Read This post of mine to get a good advisor or a link checker –> How To : Be Completely Secured While Surfing the Web.
2.  Download a reliable and a good antivirus program and keep it updated daily( Its important). Make sure you have set it to download updates automatically. Here is a review and download  link of MS security essentials, Malwarebytes and Spybot , although you can have a other one –> ‘Best Programs For Every PC' Part – 1.
3. Do download whatever program or game or anything else only from trusted sites. Do not go for torrents or free sharing sites until you trust the one who has uploaded it.
4. Use a firewall. You can do a google search to find a good one.Read more about firewalls here.
5.  Use Mozilla Firefox as you webbrowser. you can have a lot of security addons about phishing scams, site advisors and others.
6.  Always Update windows and turn automatically install updates to ‘true’.
7. If you really want to download something from web, do test it against malwares here before using
–> Submit a URL or upload the downloaded file and see the test reports before running the program .
This is pretty much enough to fight a malware. I will be coming up with more tutorials in coming days about the same topic.  This was just an introduction to the topic and more is coming up, so be subscribed : )


2 comments to "Malware–What is it ? How to defend ?–A Complete Guide"

Amit M B said... April 1, 2011 at 8:38 PM


Anonymous said... April 1, 2011 at 8:38 PM


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Amit M B
I am a student of 12th standard interested very much in computers, tech stuff and all. It has been a good experience blogging here for some time. As I am pursuing my 2nd year, its being hard to be in touch with blogging, but i daily write some or other thing and finally will get ready for posting every sunday. This is all about me . . .
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