Worm, Virus, Malware, Phishing, Spoofing, Hacking, Phreaking, Spyware … What’s What?

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CyberCrime and Security

No matter what you call it, cybercrime can be a real pain. So it’s good to understand the different kinds of crimes out there so you can be alert, protect yourself and your company, and understand what might be going on if your computer or network starts acting weird. Security is important to large enterprise corporations all the way down to the individual user.

KJONGSys | Tech Blog | Security

Learn The Terms

Truth is, you can’t participate in cyberspace without cybercrime touching you in one way or another, so why not know what you’re talking about?

Malware: Any “malicious software” designed to secretly access your computer.

Virus: Malware that copies itself and infects your computer and files.

Hacking: When someone breaks into a computer or network.

Ransomware: Malware that encrypts data or locks computers until a ransom is paid.

Spyware: Malware that gathers information about you, usually to track your internet use and deliver pop-up ads.

Keylogger: Spyware (or hardware) that tracks and records keystrokes, particularly passwords and credit card information.

Hijackware: Malware that changes your browser settings to direct you to malicious sites or show you ads. Also known as browser hijacker.

Password Stealer (PWS): Malware that collects data likely to be account numbers and the associated passwords.

Backdoor: Opens a backdoor into your computer to provide a connection for other malware, viruses, SPAM or hackers.

Newer…More Advanced Terms

Rootkit: Disguises itself as normal files that “hide in plain sight” so your antivirus software overlooks them. The goal is usually to steal the identity information from your computer, often to gain control of a system. It’s difficult to detect and remove.

Worm: Malware that self-replicates and sends itself to other computers in your network.

Trojan horse: Software that pretends to be useful but is really malware.

Phishing: When cybercriminals try to get sensitive information from you, like credit card numbers and passwords. Some specific techniques include spear phishing (targets specific people or departments), whale phishing (targets important people like CEOs), and SMiShing (phishing via text messages) and vishing (voice phishing that takes place over the phone, usually through impersonation).

Spoofing: When cybercriminals try to get into your computer by masquerading as a trusted source. Examples include email spoofing, IP spoofing and address bar spoofing.

Pharming: When website traffic is redirected to a bogus website, usually an ecommerce or banking site.

Phreaking: When phone networks are hacked in order to make free calls or have calls charged to a different account.

Rogue Security Software: Malware that pretends to be malware removal software.

Adware: Displays ads on your computer. Not dangerous but very lucrative.

Hoax: Message that warns of a non-existent threat, usually related to chain letters and usually harmless.

Social Engineering

There’s one more piece of cybercrime lingo you need to know — social engineering. It’s when scammers trick people (including customer service reps) into giving up information that allows access into accounts, networks and systems. It can also be a lot easier to trick a person than to trick a system, especially one that has multi-factor authentication. So beware!

Protecting Yourself

KJONGSys works with clients to protect them from all kinds of cybercrime, from the merely annoying to the potentially catastrophic. We also train client staff on how to be on the lookout. The types and numbers of attacks we’ve seen since first opening our doors for business is astounding — KJONGSys is now, in some ways, as much of an IT security and compliance company as we are a managed IT services company. Security concerns now touch every part of an organization’s IT ecosystem and that won’t change anytime soon because cybercrime is so profitable. If you are concerned about cybersecurity for your company, contact us — we’re here to help.

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