Malware, Adware, Ransomware, and Spyware
Malware is a type of software that disrupts computers, servers, and networks. It can steal private information, encrypt files, or cause other damage. It can also be used to spy on a user’s activities.
Often, signs of malware infection are obvious and may include a computer running slower than usual. This is a good indication that something malicious is running on the device. It can also be a sign that the computer is being compromised and should be taken out of service as soon as possible.
If you notice that a software application that you thought you installed is suddenly asking for permissions to access your microphone, camera, phone, or personal data, this is probably spyware. It is designed to gather information about your activity and send it to a remote attacker.
If a program that you think is free starts to show advertisements on your screen, this is usually a sign that it has been infected with adware. The advertisements are designed to get you to click on them to download even more malicious software.
Once a computer has been infected with ransomware, it will encrypt files and block access to them until a ransom is paid. It is a common tactic in cyberattacks against corporate networks. It typically arrives as an email attachment and may be downloaded from a malicious website. It will then display a popup message that demands a payment in order to decrypt the files.