CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Study Notes: What You Should Know About Malware

Malware concept on a tablet One of the topics covered in the CompTIA A+ certification exam is malware. Ace your CompTIA A+ practice test and do well on the real test by reading up on malware.

How Does Malware Work?

Malware refers to malicious software, which is any software developed with the intention of wreaking havoc on data, computers systems, and in turn, users. To determine how malware works, identify which type it is because its functions are dependent on the kind of malware it is. The following are the most common types of malware:

  • Viruses – Similar to biological viruses, this malware type attaches itself to clean files in a target computer system. It then infects the other clean files. They can spread rapidly, and damage the core functionality of the system and corrupt or delete files. Viruses typically appear as executable or .exe files.
  • Worms – These infect networks of devices. They spread either across the Internet or locally through the use of network interfaces. They can utilize all infected machines to infect even more machines.
  • Trojans – Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software applications. They can also piggyback on legitimate software applications. They function discretely and generate back doors in vulnerable computer systems to allow malware access to the compromised machine or network.
  • Adware / Advertising Software – While adware isn’t technically malicious, particularly aggressive adware could undermine your security settings to bombard you with various ads. This, in turn, could potentially allow other malware access to the affected machine.
  • Spyware – The name says it all; malware developed for spying on people and systems. It’s highly capable of running hidden in the background. They can track you as you work and log everything from surfing habits to passwords and personal information, among many others.
  • Botnets – These are networks of compromised computer systems that a hacker could control to work together.
  • Ransomware – Likewise known as scareware, this could put your computer system on lock down, with the intention of holding your critical files or erasing them unless you pay the ransom.

Could You Remove Malware?

Because each type of malware functions differently, each one would also require a different method for removal. Take note that prevention is better than removal. At the very least, avoid downloading files from just anywhere on the Internet or opening files sent by dubious sources. Using powerful and reputable antivirus software as well as implementing security practices are also critical.