Episode 1 - What is Malware Show Notes

Welcome to the first episode of the Simple Cyber Defense Malware series. In this episode I will discuss what malware is. So let's begin.

Computers have been used for amazing things; like bringing people closer together. However there are people who use them for bad things. One of those bad things are creating and spreading malware.

So what is Malware? Malware is short for Malicious Software and they come in many different forms. Some forms of malware are harmless while others can be destructive. The biggest misconception is that malware is a Windows only problem. It is true that Window PCs are the biggest target, however, malware can infect Macs, Linux, Smartphones, and even Tablets.

The best way to think about malware is to imagine that your computer is a castle. Data is like boxes that come in and out of the castle. Programs are like people. Each person in the castle performs a certain job; just like computer programs. The people in your castle uses the boxes to do things. Let's say that one bad person manages to enter your castle and starts to do bad things. This could be copying personal data and sending them out of your castle, or sending everything you do to another castle. These things will continue to happen until the malware is removed.

So how did malware get it's start? The first types of malware were created as a test to see if it was possible to infect computers on a world wide scale. The first computer virus was spread through the use of floppy disks and the authors of the virus put their contact information in the code so that people can tell them that they were infected. However, no damage was done and the virus was an experiment to see how many computers they could infect.

As computers got more and more popular in use, the number of malware programs increased. Some were harmless pranks that displayed funny things on the screen, while others were destructive or spied on the computer user. Also in the early stages people knew exactly when their computers were hit with malware because something always happened on the screen to let the user know that they were infected. This changed over time as malware authors try to now hide their programs, especially with spyware and Trojans, so that their malware is on the computer for as long as possible.

What is the purpose of malware? At first malware was used in a theoretical way to test computer systems. But overtime malware shifted from a test of a computer system to an attack on a computer system. Malware modifies the way a computer or mobile devices normally works; mostly to lower the security of the system or steal information. The hacker hopes to use their malware to make money off of you. This is done by stealing information, injecting ads onto your computer, or encrypt your data for a ransom. It was estimate  that  malicious  cyber  activity  cost  the  U.S.  economy  between  $57  billion  and $109 billion in 2016. (https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/The-Cost-of-Malic…)

How does malware infect a computer? The way a computer gets infected with malware is by having the hacker trick the user into downloading it, clicking on a malicious link, or by having a user visit a malicious web site. The way malware gets onto yoru computer really depends on the type of malware. So how many types of malware are there? There are many different types of malware and in the next episode I will discuss the different types of malware.

In the next episode I will discuss the different types of Malware.