Malware (Malicious Program) - First Computer Virus | Malwarebrains

Malware! Heard of the term?

Let’s begin,

What is Malware?

Malware is a reflex term for malicious programs. To simplify, it is a software developed by cyber criminals to conspire and hack computer access causing malicious damages to the system and network. Hence, your machine always requires a quick malware remover and scanner to keep it guarded.

what is malware malwarebrains.com
fig1: what is malware

Often, people happen to be heedless about the term and also they have been compromised. A computer virus is a renowned term given to malware which infects your machine through online ways. Though, there appears a considerable difference when both the terms are compared.

Always have an online malware scan before installing any software. Also, make sure whatever you download should come from an authentic source.  

The term ‘Malware’ drives us to a curious question when did all this begin?

NOTE: Here is a Free & Best Malware Removal & Scanner tool.

First Computer Virus: Where it all began!

This can conclude the answers into a debate. Some believed the first instance was the software started to move from host to host without any active user.

It was called ‘Creeper’ and appeared in the early 1970s. Almost ten years ago, the term ‘Computer Virus’ was concluded by professor Leonard M. Adleman; American Scientist.

what is malicious programs malwarebrains.com
fig2: malicious programs – virus

Tenex Operating system was the primary running platform for ‘Creeper.’ It used ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) jumping from system to system.

It displayed a message on the corrupted systems (before getting transferred to other machines):

‘I AM THE CREEPER: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!’

What exactly was happening was when the Creeper was founding a new machine, it wasn’t staying on the previous devices. This clearly stated that it was not strong enough to hold on to multiple computers at the same time.

One thing comes to clearly,

Creeper was formulated/discovered to cause any malicious activities on the system; it just bragged for a little annoyance. This was the first discovery of malicious software or let’s say a ‘Computer Virus’ introduction.   

After a short while,

A new variant was developed to float similarly but had no similar interests. It was created with the intentions to get rid of ‘Creeper’ and was named ‘Reaper.’

Contrary, some believed: the title for the first computer virus should be ‘Brain.’ Unlike the Creeper, it could move from the previous system without any need to be removed from the existing computer. This is something similar to what the malicious codes produce these days.

Agenda: The Morris Worm

The Morris Worm gained the first media attention as the notorious first computer worm. It infected thousands of computer within the early few hours of the initial introduction. This led to a massive loss of the productivity estimated between; $1,00,000 – $10,00,000.  

Agenda The Morris Worm malware brains
fir3: Agenda The Morris Worm malware

Unlike Creeper and Brain, Morris worm was out of the malware league. It came out to be another representation of an experiment gone wrong.

The software was created with an intention to find out the mushrooming of the internet with a bunch of scans in 1988.

There were severe mistakes in the code which led to the unintended service operation. Being precise, it made some computers so slow that they remain of new use (due to multiple renderings).

Result:

Internet was segmented for a couple of days to stop prevailing spread and cleansing of the networks.

This erases a question! We should dig about this fuss further.

 THE HISTORY OF MALWARE

What is the history of malware?  

“Creeper, Brain and Morris” were the early nominations of viruses but were they #malware in the most accurate manner?

Malware and similar malicious codes are designed to cause harm to your computer systems. Talking about the above, they were found creating issues by themselves accidentally (the results were damaging though).

what is the history of malware
fig4: history of malware

In the early 90s, as people saw the potential of using the internet (the latest technology), they started blooming their businesses globally. This was the birth of the web which connected computer systems in the global market.

Although! There were those who looked up to this new technology as a secure money making platform by creating and causing troubles to many.  

Hence, with the emergence of floppy and CD-Roms varieties: the increased demands of email encouraged the spreaders to spread viruses and malware via email attachment (which appeared to be the easiest way). Especially, harming those who had no malware protection (quantity: in abundance).

In the 1990s, various viruses and malware troubles were caused to the computer users. This included actions like corrupting the hard drives and deleting data. Also, putting weird sounds and annoying messages in their systems.

Fact:

Many can be seen now in safe mode and the actual malware been removed (Source: The Malware Museum or the Internet Archive).

As known, the attacks mentioned above may have looked simple but it is them which laid down the foundation of malware and viruses (including the damage caused around the globe).

Now, aren’t we curious in discussing the types of malware?

TYPES OF MALWARE

What are the types of malware?

Depending upon the agenda of the developer, malware has grown its roots in various kinds (just like traditional software).

know how many types of malware?
fig5: types of malware

To make an attack more prominent, malware authors combines the features of various forms of malware at the same time. For instance, it uses ransomware to destroy a trojan attack.

Let’s talk about the malware types one by one.

Computer Virus

What is a computer virus?

A code or virus that can copy itself onto computers is known as a Computer Virus. Malicious tasks such as destroying or corrupting data are associated with this term.

what is computer virus malwarebrains
what is computer virus

With time, “malicious software” has evolved far more diverse than computer viruses. Still, there remain forms of traditional viruses (15 years old – Conficker Worm) still causing problems to the older systems. On the other hand, malware is created to provide the attackers with other malicious tools.

Talking about a trojan.

What is a trojan malware?

A trojan horse is the most common form of malware. It is highly malicious and disguises itself as a premium/legitimate tool tricking the user into installing to carry out its malicious activities.

As claimed:

The gift to the city of Troy, with the Greeks hidden inside the giant wooden horse; from the tale of ancient Troy.

what is trojan virus malwarebrains.com
what is trojan virus malware?

As the story goes, once the giant wooden horse stepped inside the city walls, a team of Greeks appeared from inside the giant wooden horse and captured the city.

Trojan Horse attacks in the same manner as described above. It sneaks a way into the system – disguises itself as a legitimate tool. It starts to attack once it is inside your network.

Once a trojan malware is installed in your system, it can corrupt all your data such as passwords, logins, screenshots, system information, banking details, etc.

All this information is secretly transferred to the attacker. At times, a Trojan can give access to the attackers to modify data or to turn-off anti-malware protection.

The power of a Trojan horse can be seen as an engaging tool to the solo hackers.

What is Spyware?

Software that monitors the actions carried out on a PC along with other devices is known as spyware. Used apps, browsing history or sent messages can be included. Usually, spyware is introduced a trojan malware or can be downloaded on devices by other means.

what is spyware malware
what is spyware malware

For instance,

Somebody downloading a random toolbar may encounter a spyware issue (which gets downloaded along) or via a drive-by download can secretly drop the code onto a computer.

In particular scenarios, spyware is promoted as a software. This software is often promoted as special parent monitoring devices and they are ignored by antivirus and installed security software.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware encrypts the infected system and is often delivered through malicious attachment or link by a phishing email.

As known, some of the malware disguises themselves and can hide for a while but this isn’t the case when it comes to ransomware.

what is ransomware malware
what is ransomware malware

They attack in the open!

They lock the user out and ask for a ransom. Also, until the ransom is paid, they remain still.

What is Wiper Malware?

What is Wiper Malware malwarebrains.com
What is Wiper Malware?

Wiper malware strikes with a single target: to destroy and erase all the data from the infected computer or network. After the attackers secretly remove the targeted data, the wiping starts to take place. Also, at times, it is launched to sabotage the target completely.

Shamoon was the first significant form of wiper malware. Shamoon: targeted Saudi energy companies and infected their machines to steal all their data. Mamba and StoneDrill fall under the recent wiper attacks.

Petya ransomware – One of the most a recent example of wipers in the recent times. Initially, it was thought to be ransomware. According to the researchers, there was no way for the victims even after paying the ransom but also the destroyed data was irrecoverable.

What is a computer worm?

A worm is a form of “malware virus” spreading itself among various systems without letting the user know.

what is computer worms malware
computer worm malware

Worms exploit the operating systems or the software. The computer worms are the computer malware which distributes themselves via email attachments. Computer worms spread on an infected machine and gain access to the contact book.

Worms are the most successful and long-living forms of computer malware. For instance,  the 15-year-old SQL slammer worm powered by DDoS attacks install malicious codes. Likewise, a 10-year-old Conficker worm is a widespread cyber infection.

Last year, Wannacry ransomware infected over 300,000 computers around the world. This worm got a quick spread through other infected networks as no malware check was performed on them.

What is adware?

Many cybercriminals make money from adware. Adware is designed to push adverts into the system or user maliciously. Furthermore, the only way to get rid of these is to click through adverts. Thus, the cybercriminals, get additional revenue with each click.

what is adware malware
what is adware malware

In most cases, the malicious adverts neither steal data nor causes damage to the device. But, these adverts annoy the user and they repeatedly click the pop-up windows.

However, in the case of mobile devices free of malware protection, the adverts drain the battery. Also, the influx of pop-up windows makes the device unusable.

What is a botnet?

A botnet is a robot network where cybercriminals use malware virus especially hijacking a whole system of machines. As soon as the machine or system detects malware programs, the machine is known as compromised devices.

what is botnet malware
what is botnet malware

Each machine fails due to a single attacking operation and falls under their control. This robot network malware program can even issue commands to all of the infected compromised machines.

These attackers work on a robot zombie network, to carry out large-scale campaigns of cyber attacks.

Moreover, these coordinated DDoS attacks flood a victim with overwhelming traffic. In response to the traffic, the website or user service receiving traffic goes offline.

The botnets work as windows malware by affecting operating systems. This Robert network campaigns spam emails and recruit more machines into their network. While spreading themselves on the web, they steal financial data.

If the network is small, then botnets will affect specific targets.

Botnets are designed in such a manner that the user is completely unaware about the cyber attacks on their machine.

As the more devices connect to the internet, more tools are targeted by botnets. The infamous Mirai botnet slowed down the internet services in 2016.

Internet of Things devices powered Mirai botnet because of inadequate security and lack of online malware scan and best malware removal tools.

What is a cryptocurrency miner malware?

The high profile rise of bitcoin helped cryptocurrency a common digital money term. Though people aren’t buying it, everyone among us dedicates computing power to their computer network or website to mine for it.

What is a cryptocurrency miner malware
What is a cryptocurrency miner malware

While the internet users are actively engaging themselves in this activity, cyber attackers have found ways to attack the mining. A cryptocurrency miner delivers malicious code to the target machine run mining operations in the background.

There’s nothing illegal about cryptocurrency mining, but cybercriminals are using malware attack on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Monero, Etherium, etc. Some cybercriminals secretly capture PCs through a botnet and then operates anonymously.

Smominru, the largest cybercriminal cryptocurrency network has more than 500,000 and has operated at least $3.6 million. Therefore, either it is cryptocurrency transaction or a regular online banking transaction — malware detection is necessary for a safer approach.

Once the malicious code enters into your system, the system will gradually slow down. Eventually, one day the cyber attack put a complete stop and the victim thinks as if it is happening for no reason.

The cryptocurrency mining uses PCs and Window servers. Also, Internet of Things devices are favorite targets for acquiring funds. The lack of security and anti-malware makes them attractive targets for cryptocurrency miners.

Analysis by Cisco Talos had revealed that a single compromised system with a cryptocurrency miner would make 0.28 Monero a day. But, if a network has 2000 systems than a cryptocurrency miner will earn $568 per day and $200,000 a year.

How is malware delivered?

In the past, before World Wide Web, malware and viruses were delivered manually, physically via floppy disc or CD Rom.

Nowadays, malware needs a flash drive or USB stick for manual and physical deliverance. There are instances where USB sticks are left in parking areas targeted organizations, in the hope that someone in curiosity will pick it and plugs it into a computer connected to the network.

how malware attacks
how malware attacks

However, the most common method to deliver malware is by phishing email where malware is attached to emails. The spam email quality involves the attackers’ effort which are quite minimal. As sending email contains nothing but an attached undetectable malware to it.

Here the attackers always hope that someone will click on email attachments or links. Now, if the user doesn’t have anti-malware or malware protection, then the attack will be successful.

A newly developed method for delivering malware through a phishing email is sending a vast swathe of messages. Here the mail can ambiguously claim a user has won a contest and needs to check their online bank account. To this, a user will react instantly and the malware will enter into the system.

Another shocking example is explaining (falsely) a user who is summoned to court. Again the user may click on it with a shock, opening a pathway for the phishing email attachment to spread malware. Likewise, ransomware and Trojans enter into our system.

The phishing email is specifically tailored to lure in the people within one organization. This malware deliverance is associated with the most sophisticated malware campaigns.

However, there are several other ways for malware to spread that do not require action by the end user. The invulnerable software is made vulnerable by installing anti-malware and best malware removal tools.

Download the best malware removal tool.

What is fileless malware?

What is fileless malware
What is fileless malware?

The traditional malware attacks are now slowing down due to regular malware check. On the same side, users are becoming aware and cautious of unexpected emails and the strange attachments.

Therefore, attackers are now finding other ways to drop their malicious payloads by the use of fileless malware.

 

These fileless malware attacks now rely on launching scripts from memory. Techniques now infect endpoints without leaving a trail behind. There a machine or system needs an online malware scan.

It’s because now the attackers use a trusted system file and service to launch this odious activity without getting detected. The major drawback is with the anti-virus who doesn’t register wrongdoings from a trusted device.

This exploits the infrastructure of the system and attackers create scripts with which they compromise the system through hidden files and folders.

The exploitation connects to different networks in stealth conducting mode.

The “fileless malware” is difficult to detect. Additionally, difficult to protect them by antivirus software.

Do only Windows PCs get malware?

Previously, everyone thought that only Microsoft Windows systems may fall victim to the malware. Windows computer systems are very common due to which malware and viruses had mainly concentrated on them.

windows malware
windows malware

But still, malware is a challenge for Windows systems — especially those who are older. Even more, those windows system which operates on a pirated version of windows falls prey to windows malware and ransomware.

Mac malware

For many years, Macs were considered entirely immune to malicious infections. But in the 90s, few forms of malware-infected Macs through the malware were for Windows systems.

mac malware
mac malware

However, in the 2000s, attackers developed first malware to target Apple Macs. And since then Macs and Windows system both are the targets of malware.

It’s now standard for the Backdoors trojans and the compromised software downloads to targeting Mac systems through ransomware attacks.

What is mobile malware?

Last decade saw a gradual shift in the rise of smartphones and tablets. Thus, changing the entire relationship with the internet and technology. But, here too cybercriminals found the ways to exploit for financial gain.

Nowadays, smartphones contain our all essential information and could detect our location also. And cybercriminals must have working on some new malware to carry out their tasks secretly on our smartphones.

What is mobile malware

The amount of data we carry on our mobile devices is a more valuable target for hackers. Whenever a sophisticated hacking group is looking to compromise a particular intentional target, they spy on them.

A smartphone can be hacked through malware physically locate future targets to listen to conversations, to sneak at our photos, text messages and social media chats.

Unfortunately, our mobile phones are something that may fall victim to cyber attacks. Although mobiles are protected by good user practice and mobile’s antivirus software, cybercriminals are not behind in attacking our so important hand device.

What is Android malware?

Now smartphones are within reach of everyone. Also, Google has the most significant share of the mobile market. Eventually, the open and adaptable nature of Android devices makes them the attractive target for cybercriminals. Hence, these devices suffer the majority of malware attacks.

What is Android malware malwarebrains.com

Attackers infect their targets and trick them into downloading malicious applications. The third-party stores play a vital role where without malware detection, malware find their way into the official Google Play.

These malicious apps downloaded from third-party resources looks like primary useful tools or games. For example, a user will find fake versions of Whatsapp, FB, Instagram and Truecaller Id. However, through Google Play Store, Android malware and Windows malware attackers run the campaigns for infiltration.   

“Android malware poses as a legitimate app inside the Google Play Store. This is easily protected by online malware scan and a malware cleaner before downloading malicious apps and games.”

Can malware infect my iPhone?

Generally, the iPhone is heavily protected against malware due to regular malware check performed on them.

Can malware infect my iPhone and how to remove malware from i phone

However, cybercriminals and hacking gangs have found different ways to compromise the devices as per their selected targets. Internet of Things malware is a standard way that rises the malware on the iPhone.

Moreover, IOT malware infects all the devices that go online. Due to this, the potential of the cyber attacks has increased.

This socially engineered internet of things world is essential as it gives many benefits to the users. On the other hand, in industry, workplace and at home it has opened several ways for new cybercriminal ways to infect the devices.

Subsequently, iPhones are also not secure but fight extensively against malware.

What is Internet of Things malware?

Today everything works on IOT where devices rush online without giving a thought about their cybersecurity. It means hackers relatively infect the online connected devices which range from industrial control content to even children’s toys.

What is Internet of Things (IoT) Malware

An online malware check from Malware Removal Tool will prevent the insecurity of IOT devices. This tool is the best malware scanner which works as antimalware and antivirus. The malware removal tool will fight the secret botnets too.

The online chaos readily infects devices like routers, smart lighting systems and surveillance cameras. Furthermore, the damages by Mirai botnet DDoS attack will be more infectious.

The malware removal tool, the best malware protection against Mirai-infected devices and Internet of things malware will prevent the number of online infected devices. This will slow down the attack eventually blocking the access to your personal, financial and banking information.

BrickerBot an IoT malware infects Internet of Things products. BrickerBot caused Homeland Security’s Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT) data storage facility irrecoverable and corrupt. This lead CERT issuing new warnings which then caused completely unstable data leaks.

Ethical Hackers and cybercriminals turn your mobile phones into surveillance devices. Same things happen with internet-connected cameras in the industries and homes. There are many instances where an IoT camera security was found so fundamental that the malware attack has infected them in a significant amount.

Mobile phones are always on our hand, ready for use. Therefore a malware cleaner can quickly help your device to fight against malware. Unfortunately, IoT devices are forgotten after they are plugged in. Considering this, there always lies a risk that these IoT cameras and devices are readily accessible to the outsiders.

“In other words, you never know who is spying you and how at workplace and home?”

This could be the only possible reason why police warn about the threats posed by IoT connected devices. Consequently, government bodies always work towards finding ways of legislating IoT devices as early as possible. All these efforts are to prevent billions of devices from getting infected with malware.

“Everyday objects in our daily life are getting connected to the Internet of Things. Thus, they become a soft, attractive and easy target for malware.”

International cyber warfare of Malware

Malware’s offensive capabilities made them a general tool for cyber warfare. Today, these cyber warfares are mostly involved in geopolitics game. Since there are no rules and agreements like with conventional weapons, anyone can target anybody with cyber threats.

International cyber warfare of Malware

The attribution of these cyber attacks is so tricky that nation-states all around the world cannot wrap their activities secretly.

In 2010, Stuxnet designed to spy industrial systems was the first instance of malware which infiltrated Iran’s nuclear program. The attack infected uranium centrifuges and damaged several systems.

The attacks primary agenda was to slow down Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Finally, Stuxnet was able to do it. It is believed that United States and Israeli cyber forces programmed Stuxnet.

Now the cyber warfare works as a tool used by the governments. It’s also considered that malware attacks against a Ukrainian power plant were also from the USA.

How do you protect against malware?

Merely ensuring an antimalware and antivirus software is regularly patched and up to date. The updates in an operating system are applied as quickly as possible after their release. The regular update will protect users from falling into the unknown exploitation of updates.

How do you protect against malware

The WannaCry outbreak badly impacted the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. Despite warnings, systems weren’t patched and updated which led to their exploitation.

The lesson learned here is; Sometimes a regular update of networks and systems might become an effective protection shield against the malware.

Secondly, installing some cybersecurity software could protect many forms of attacks. Many vendors like How To Remove It update their free malware removal tool on a weekly basis, providing natural protection. Moreover, this tool prevents anything from breaking into your system.

See Also: List of Computer Errors and Know how to Fix them

FAQs

Malware is a software specially designed to gain access to your system. They are the malicious software including worms, trojans, spyware, etc.

  1. What is the difference between window malware and computer malware?

Window malware is a specific computer malware designed to disrupt the functioning of the Windows operating system. While computer malware impacts and damages the working of your personal computers and laptops.

Whether your system encounter computer malware or Window malware, both will affect the networks of PCs.

  1. How free malware removal tool helps your system?

Free malware removal tool works as antimalware + antivirus. Thus, provides you with 24×7 PC protection. This free tool is helpful in removing next-generation malware too. Additionally, the tool performs an online malware scan and malware check.

  1. How to prevent spyware?

Spywares generally enters to your computers when you click and acknowledge a pop-up window. There are three ways to know whether your system is affected by spyware or not.

  • The occurrence of endless pop-up windows
  • A sudden change of browser’s home page
  • Random Windows error messages

To remove spyware, it is best to run a free malware removal tool scan.

  1. What is Phishing?

Phishing is a specific type of cybercrime that tricks the user to disclose valuable information through fake bank’s website, emails, spam email attachments and hyperlinks.

  1. What is a Rootkit?

Rootkits are used by hackers to evade detection while they try to gain access to your system. Nowadays, the use of Rootkits is increasing to hide the activities of Trojan viruses. In other words, rootkits will be detected while the trojan virus damages your computer or system.

  1. What is a Malware DDoS attack?

A Distributed Denial of Service attack is conducted by using multiple machines. These attacks compromise your system’s internet security and install some malicious code into your system. DDoS generally attacks the networks and servers.

  1. How to prevent DDoS attack?

To protect the DDoS attack, a user should buy more bandwidth. A stable, secure internet connection with specialized hardware-software equipment will probably solve the DDoS attack problem on servers.

 

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