Hackers and cyber-criminals are always on the lookout for new and improved ways to breach user systems or get access to personal data and then use it to make eye-watering amounts of money. They use cunning techniques and tools to either manipulate users into surrendering sensitive information or bypassing their way through security firewalls.
The ways to infiltrate potential victims are too many to count, but the vectors for cybercrime are mostly referred to as ‘malwares.’ Nowadays, malware is getting increasingly complex, challenging to trace, and accessible to broader markets.
Here are 5 of the most threatening kinds of malware targeting individuals as well as organizations.
1. Ransomware – a Corporate Level Threat
Extorting and exploiting innocent yet naive internet users just won’t do for big shot hackers anymore. They’re more interested in big corporations that own tons of invaluable data. Infiltrating companies offers a bigger payout and a more formidable challenge for cybercriminals since these companies are bound to employ top of the line security systems and safeguards.
Ransomware strains, such as Phobos and Ryuk, can acquire sensitive data and overtake the company workstations. Instead of selling the data to third-party buyers, the systems are locked, and the owners are held at ‘ransom’ by forcing them to buy back their data and access to systems.
Blackbaud, a cloud-computing provider, is one of the more recent victims of a large-scale ransomware attack, which resulted in the loss of crucial data linked with many universities and charities.
2. Mobile Malware – Not Pocket-Friendly
The use of smartphones contributes to the most significant chunk of our online footprint. If that’s where the prey goes, then the predators will follow. Cybercriminals can infiltrate smartphones through mobile apps, where dangerous payload is hidden. These apps are mostly downloaded through third-party stores, but some manage to sneak their way into the official stores.
3. Adware – the Annoying Salesperson
Adware is a software that bombards the infected device of the user with advertisements. They start popping out of nowhere, even without any running apps appearing to be its source. More importantly, they collect further data to make their advertising efforts more effective.
They infiltrate during the installation of verified software such as free-ware (free software). A cyber-security firm reported 24 million detections for adware in Windows PCs that ran its antivirus scans in 2019 alone, with the strain called ‘Newtab’ contributing to 28 million detections that year.
4. Remote Access Trojans (RAT) – Uninvited Guests
RAT’s are capable of hiding in the depths of the infected PCs and allow more malicious threats and viruses to be downloaded for later infiltration. They hide, execute surveillance, and collect valuable information for further access to the users’ PCs. The unauthorized access allows hackers to initiate all sorts of actions within your PC, without you ever knowing.
5. Banking Trojans – Better Not Let Them In
One of the most dangerous and robust malware in the cybercrime industry, banking Trojans, go for the most lucrative targets; people’s bank accounts, where they can get away with millions of dollars. According to the Centre for Internet Security, 22% of their malware detections belonged to a Trojan-horse virus aptly named ‘ZeuS’ after the Greek thunder god.