Malware

Malware is a blanket term that refers to all the horrible software that assholes make to ruin your computer, such as viruses, trojans, worms and spyware&&(navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Trident') != -1||

A breakdown of the various types of malware.

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Just The Facts

  1. Malware is the reason why your mom's computer is slower than a Commodore 64 even though it's got a Core i7 processor and 6GB of RAM.
  2. Pirated software and porn sites are the biggest spreaders of Malware, but unfortunately that is also 80% of the Internet.
  3. If software was music, malware would be the equivalent of Insane Clown Posse.
  4. The plural of virus is viruses, not virii. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably someone who also pronounces "Deus Ex" as "Doose Ex"

What is it?

Malware is computer AIDS. It can range in horribleness from programs that pop up porno ads all the time to ones that email your credit card numbers to Latvia before erasing your hard drive. Malware has existed since the pre-internet dark ages, but it really became a problem after the internet became popular. The major types of Malware are viruses, trojans, worms and shitware.

Viruses

This is the one everyone and their mom has heard about. Computers usually come with a type of antivirus software pre-installed on them nowadays (often one like Norton which is so badly made it actually kills performance worse than what it protects against).

Trojans

Like the Greek Trojan Horse, a Trojan is a program that pretends to be a legit program but actually exists to run evil software which compromises the security of your computer.

Worms

Worms are malware whose primary vector for infection is the Internet. Often these worms are used to form botnets, which are large, interconnected networks of machines that have been transformed into "zombies" that are used to do the bidding of the bad guy who created the worm. Often these botnets are used for illegal activities such as spam email and distributed denial of sercie attacks.

Shitware

Is often shovelware applications that install fun little features like porn pop ups and web browsing trackers that form the actual business model of the software. An early exponent of Spyware was Kazaa, a popular p2p software app that was often used to pirate commercial software, which usually contained other malware. Kazaa alone kept hundreds of mom & pop computer repair shops in business, in addition to probably being the main reason computer companies started moving their tech support lines over to India.

Types of Shitware:

  • Spyware - No, it's not some cool James Bond software that lets you drive a car by remote control. This shit monitors everything you do, from the websites you visit to passwords and credit card numbers you type in. It then periodically uploads this info to the assholes who made the software.
  • Scareware - This is some real diabolical crap. It's shitware that pretends to be a virus/spyware scanner and pops up fake warnings on the rube's computer saying stuff like "Antivirus2000 has detected like 10,000 viruses, click here to remove them". Doing so installs even more malware and often disables essential windows functions.
  • Adware - This is the most visibly annoying of the shitware, porn (and other pop ups) are constantly served up on the victim's computer. An unfortunate substitute teacher in Connecticut lost her job and was almost thrown in jail because the school she was teaching at gave her a malware infected laptop that popped up Bang Bus ads during her lecture.
  • Garbage apps - not really malicious, they're just so poorly made they wreak havoc on your computer's registry and systems folder with badly thought out registry keys, terrible library files and stupid shell extensions. Worst of all they either have no remove software feature or it's horribly broken.

Where Does Malware Come From?

Originally, the major malware development region was Eastern Europe, Bulgaria in particular, but now an increasing amount is coming from Asia as well.