The most dangerous malware in operation today come in the form of ransomware. This is the major menace for Windows-based PC users who access the internet. They defy many conventional antivirus programs and they seek to exploit their victims by demanding payment for decryption of encrypted files and directories on the system. Here are some of the worst malware and security threats to PC users today.

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1. CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is one of the deadliest types of malware ever made. It not only steals money from you because it gains access to your personal financial data, it also decrypts your private information permanently. Then it displays a message that your information may be decrypted using a special decryption key within a limited timeframe. Although this malware may be taken out of your system using various security solutions, the locked files are gone forever. CryptoLocker usually infects your system through an unsuspicious email attachment sent from a legitimate company.

2. Torpig

Torpig is a complex malware program designed to glean sensitive financial information like credit card and bank account details from victims. It works through a network of computers that are controlled by cyber criminals. This compromised network is used to steal private data and bank account login details. Torpig is quite resilient because it uses the domain generation algorithm to create a list of domains and discover the control servers to hack into them.

Many computers have been infected with Torpig via drive-by downloads. A webpage on a legitimate site could be modified to request JavaScript codes from a server controlled by cyber criminals. Then the infected computers can steal sensitive information through phishing attacks. That is why people who play online games like Bingo or Poker online sites need to ensure that they are not using a fake domain or phishing site.

3. Zeus

Zeus is a notorious trojan that targets Windows-based computers. Also known as Zbot, Infostealer or PRG, this malware retrieves confidential data from the computers it attacks. After it is successfully installed, it downloads its own configuration files and updates. Most of the files it uses are built and upgraded using a trojan-building toolkit.

After Zeus has stolen credit card and bank account details from a computer, it attempts to log into the banking applications. Then it makes unauthorised transactions through a sophisticated network of computers. Zeus has been used by criminals to steal money for many years. It has already infected up to 3.6 million systems in the U.S. alone.

4. Locky

Locky was created by highly experienced hackers and cyber criminals. In fact, many data security experts acknowledge that it is one of the most ruthless and well-engineered kinds of malware. The criminals behind this evil ransomware did a lot of deep thinking and planning. That is why it not only encrypts a large number of data files, it also attacks Bitcoin wallets and the volume snapshot service, so that you cannot use it to restore your files.

Locky is a corporate nightmare. It tries to attack any shares attached to your system and other servers and PCs you can access from your machine. The encryption used is so strong that any attack by Locky is virtually irrecoverable.

5. zCrypt

This is a piece of ransomware that operates like a virus. So it can transfer itself from one machine to another using a USB stick. Once it gets into a Windows computer, it deploys its autorun.inf file that attempts to run automatically. zCrypt does not rely on malicious emails to attack or install itself on a victim. Rather than trying to encrypt all files and disable the entire system, it locates vital directories and encrypts files that are changed. To make recovery impossible, it scrambles the data in the files first.

6. Cerber

This unique ransomware is part of the recently discovered breed of ransomware that work as a service. Cerber encrypts files but it does not attack computers in Russia and other former Soviet republics. Security experts have concluded that it must have its origins in Russia. After it has infected a PC, it will bring up a Windows system alert and cause the system to restart automatically before it begins its deadly encryption routine. Cerber even forces the PC to speak out its demand for money just in case you don’t notice what it states in its text files. Currently, there is no known means of recovery.

Conclusion

These malware and data security threats are still infecting many poorly protected machines in various parts of the world today. In addition to installing an antivirus program, Windows users in particular need to make regular backups that are stored in a much more secure location.

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