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What is Adware?
Adware is usually free software designed for one of two reasons. Legitimate reasons may include advertisements for sponsored products, redirects to sponsored web pages, and testing of services. Adware used for malicious purposes falls under the category of spyware, as it can track user search preferences, collect and transmit sensitive data, and compromise user privacy and security.
Other terms used for adware are pitch is and freeware. Most software is usually hosted on websites and is often installed on end-user devices through pop-up screens, links or files, and other programs that contain adware software. Not all adware operates secretly on the user’s device. However, specific anti-adware programs are needed to remove these applications.
What is Antivirus?
An antivirus or anti-virus software is a program that scans hard drives, external storage devices, and other external media for viruses, worms, and other types of malware. It is a tool or set of programs designed to detect, quarantine, remove, and prevent threats from reaching a computer or computer network.
This type of software can identify viruses either through the use of a dictionary or a database of known viruses. Antivirus software can also flag suspicious behavior, which is why some decryption programs that often change different settings or files to operate in an undesirable way often have files flagged as threats.
What is a DDoS Attack?
DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks is most often carried out with online systems and target corporations, businesses, online stores, and other similar businesses. They are designed to disrupt normal operation by slowing down. This occurs when a higher than normal amount of internet traffic is directed towards the target and floods their bandwidth, compromising the performance of their software and hardware components.
DDoS attacks are usually carried out with a botnet. The larger the botnet, the stronger the attack, as more bots are able to generate more incoming data to the target. Advanced firewall protection is usually needed to prevent DDoS attacks from causing damage.
What is a SQL Injection Attack?
SQL injection attacks are hosted online attacks, directed at the input fields of target databases. These attacks are used with the intention of stealing information such as usernames and passwords. On improperly performed and maintained pages, these SQL lookups can bypass user input fields and allow access to information stored in the database.
As a result, information can be stolen, corrupted, modified, or even deleted. These types of attacks are often carried out against online retailers. This happens because forms such as registration forms, feedback forms, shopping cart forms, and request forms are theoretically vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. These attacks are very popular against both poorly protected and well-protected databases. However, only the latter manage to avoid severe damage.
What is a Botnet?
A botnet is an interconnected network of devices. Each of them can contain one or more internet bots. As these bots can be used to perform automated tasks, such as launching a DDoS attack or a SQL injection attack, a bot is often used to perform damaging attacks on databases, servers, networks, or even heavily protected individual devices.
The common term for a botnet is a zombie army. This is because the devices used in botnet attacks are unwitting participants and mere hosts for botnets that operate in secret. In most cases, users don’t even know that their computer is part of these networks. Often botnet owners rent them out to anyone who needs superior computing power and a clandestine way to attack a target.
What is a Trojan Horse?
Named after an ancient infiltration tactic used in warfare, a Trojan horse is known in computer security as a seemingly benign software component, which can cause a lot of damage to the system, establish remote control or steal sensitive information once activated. It is a type of malware that belongs to the category of computer viruses.
Unlike other computer viruses, a Trojan virus is not designed with self-replicating capabilities. Instead, it spreads through various social engineering techniques. However, it is still a dangerous type of malware, even without the ability to spread to other systems on a network. This is because it has the ability to provide unauthorized access or download other viruses with self-replicating properties.
What is Cyber-Crime?
Cyber or computer crime is a type of criminal activity that involves either attacking computers and networks, or using them as tools to carry out criminal activity, according to the legal definition. For example, phishing is a cyber-crime and is often used illegally to obtain sensitive information, registration credentials, or even sensitive personal information.
Identity theft can also be a cybercrime when hacking or malware programs are used to obtain a person’s identifying information, either for the hacker’s benefit or to sell to an interested third party. Some classify cybercrimes according to the victim: either computer systems or device owners. However, there are many subtypes of cybercrime, each with its own legislation and form of sentencing.
What is a Scam?
Scams are frauds that can be carried out online or offline. Most online scams registered and prosecuted under cybercrime laws involve stealing information or compromising the security of the victim. Scams can target individuals, groups, organizations, or even governments.
In computer security, scams often involve various social engineering techniques for the purpose of committing fraud (tax fraud, donation fraud, auction fraud, etc.), identity theft, or even obtaining information for use in targeted advertising campaigns. Scams should not be confused with scams. Sometimes a scam can be a step into a larger scam.
What is a Zero-Day Exploit?
A zero-day exploit can be considered the holy grail of any criminally active hacker. Zero-day exploits refer to those computer exploits (both hardware and software) that allow criminals to exploit unknown, unpublished, or unresolved vulnerabilities. If the person using the exploit is the only one who knows about the vulnerability, then it is called a zero-day exploit.
Although very few choose to share these exploits for fear of losing their benefits, some exploits do eventually come to light. Once they are known, the race is on to create a patch to fix the vulnerability. The exploit is then no longer called a zero-day exploit and is called an N-day exploit. The N in the name refers to the number of days since the exploit has been publicly known.
What is a Computer Exploit?
A computer exploit can be anything from a few lines of code to several malware programs that exploit a weakness in an application, network connection, or even hardware components. Exploits are used for a large number of malicious actions, such as stealing sensitive information, establishing backdoor access, stealing bank account data, corrupting data, etc.
Some exploits are discovered by security companies that hack their clients with the intention of discovering and pointing out certain vulnerabilities. One of the most dangerous types of exploits is known as the zero-day exploit. It is virtually impossible to protect against it because it uses newly discovered vulnerabilities in hardware and software, and programmers have not yet fixed them.
What is a Computer Worm?
Computer worms are a type of malicious software. They comprise a subcategory of viruses that can spread without human assistance. This means that files or programs do not need to be opened in order for the worm to copy itself multiple times and spread through the network.
Most often, computer worms enter through unprotected network connections. They can be used to slow down the performance of various devices. Another common use involves delivering a payload that can establish a backdoor entry into the system. This backdoor entry leaves the system unprotected against other malware threats and allows hackers to remotely control the infected device or network.
What is Computer Hacking?
Computer hacking can be used for both good and bad purposes. It takes on the negative connotation because of its use for the theft of information, money, data corruption, and other actions that result from an unauthorized intrusion into a network of computers or individual devices.
When used for noble purposes, computer hacking is performed by either freelance hackers, benevolent activists, or security companies in order to find vulnerabilities in programs and systems. Once found, patches can be developed and applied so that future exploitation attempts do not succeed.
What is Social Engineering?
When we talk about social engineering in the context of computer security and cyber-crime, we are talking about any activity that involves the use of psychological manipulation techniques towards individuals or groups of people. These actions often result in extortion, obtaining information, or gathering information for profit.
Another common use of social engineering is to gain an advantage in a competition through compromised data, theft of research, or modification of data to put the competition in a bad light. Corporate espionage is also considered a social engineering technique. Phishing is a popular choice among most cyber-criminals who favor attacks based on social engineering principles.
What is a keylogger?
Keyloggers (keyloggers) are software or hardware devices that can monitor and record keystrokes on a keyboard. Some record keystrokes once a specific user has logged into their account, while others record everything from the time the device is started. Most hardware keyloggers need to be in physical connection with the device in order to log information. Some have the ability to steal from other devices without an internet connection if they have their own built-in Wi-Fi antenna.
Although not always used for illegal activities, keyloggers usually imply something negative. Because of their ability to record such important actions and their design, which allows them to operate underground, they are often used to create backdoors, steal sensitive information, obtain credit card information and even as ancillary items in identity theft.
What is Malware?
Malware is a broad category of potentially harmful software designed to exploit various vulnerabilities in external systems and networks. It can encompass everything from computer worms and viruses, to ransomware, spyware, and zero-day exploits.
To protect against malware, it is appropriate to use an antivirus package with multiple types of protection such as threat detection, spyware and adware removal, firewall, etc. Carefully checking suspicious attachments and links is also something to keep in mind when trying to prevent a device from being infected with malware.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a social engineering technique, where the perpetrator either positions himself as a trustworthy entity, or acquires trusted domains or email addresses with the intention of stealing valuable information or getting people to download and open infected files on their devices.
This is one of those scams that can be easily avoided. Most antivirus programs may not be able to flag fake links or domain names. However, they should flag potentially infected files, once downloaded to a storage device. The best protection against phishing is still to exercise extreme caution and understand that very few legitimate entities would ask you to share your personal information via email or social media, which makes any such request suspicious.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is software that uses advanced encryption techniques to put a lock on files, documents, and other data on the target device, a network, or devices. Once the files are encrypted, they cannot be used without the decryption key. This is where ransomware «ransomware» comes in, as most attackers demand a ransom in exchange for the aforementioned key.
This type of software can be installed through a backdoor entry or by the victim downloading and accessing infected files or programs. Sometimes ransomware is also used in extortion. In these cases, the perpetrators inform their victims that their personal files have been copied and are ready to be published. The only way to prevent this is by paying the ransom, usually in untraceable digital currency.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is becoming very common for all cyber-criminals, due to the large number of ways in which someone’s personal identification information can be obtained on the internet. Anything that leads to the theft of identifying information that could be used to replicate an identity or create a new one is considered identity theft.
In cybercrime, there is no specific designation for identity theft through computers or electronic communication devices. Identity theft is also practiced through low-tech methods such as searching containers, stealing documents, or eavesdropping on confidential conversations. Phishing is often used for identity theft, especially to steal registration information and data from online banks.
What is a Rootkit?
A rootkit is one of the most dangerous types of malware, which can affect a computer or a computer network. Some rootkits can be standalone programs that install a backdoor through which they give hackers remote access to a system. Others are much more complex and act as malware suites, capable of performing various actions on the target system.
Rootkit suites typically contain Trojan worms, keyloggers, spyware, and viruses that can enter a system, leave a backdoor open, and corrupt, steal, or even delete data. You can think of a rootkit as just the opposite of an antivirus package that provides full protection in several areas.
What is Spam?
Sending any kind of bulk email can be considered spam if the recipient does not want or has not asked for it to be sent. Spam is not considered illegal, except if certain aspects of social engineering are used to gain access to the information. Spam is often used in advertising campaigns for products and services.
It is considered an inexpensive form of advertising, although most email services do a good job of creating filters that stop spam emails. That said, the term spam doesn’t just refer to email messages. It also refers to spam chats, instant messaging, blog posts, fake news updates, and other types of emails that are delivered in bulk.
What is Email, IP or DNS Spoofing?
Simply put, spoofing is the action of disguising an email, IP, or DNS (Domain Name System) for the purpose of establishing credibility.
Unknown email sources are sometimes spoofed to look like trusted addresses from banks, internet service providers, or even law enforcement agencies. These emails contain messages that attempt to trick people into sharing their identifying information, divulging their financial credentials, or sending money.
IP spoofing can also be used for malicious purposes if the spoofed IP address allows access to restricted networks. Other times, it is used with VPN software to allow users to access restricted websites or to bypass geo-restrictions and access media content they cannot access from their real location.
DNS spoofing is also dangerous. It can be used to redirect traffic from legitimate websites to fake websites that look good but could be filled with viruses, spyware, adware, and other malware.
What is Spyware?
Spyware is malware that operates clandestinely on the target’s device. Its task is usually to monitor, record and transmit information to a third party. That information could contain anything from keystroke logging to search patterns and search history.
Often with a negative connotation, spyware is an extension of adware. Thus, the term can refer to a wide number of programs, such as keyloggers, tracking cookies, system drivers, or even Trojan viruses. It is often necessary to use spyware removal software to completely remove spyware from infected systems. Ordinary antivirus programs may not work, but a set of antivirus with removal abilities should do the trick.
What is a Computer Virus?
Any malicious code or program that reproduces itself is considered a computer virus. If it has the ability to copy its code into other programs or rewrite parts of the code of other programs to suit its needs and spread, it is called a computer virus. Viruses have several subtypes, each with its own clear definition, depending on its behavior and purpose.
Although computer viruses can enter systems through unprotected networks or by downloading infected files, attachments, and programs to the end user’s device, a virus will not begin to affect the system unless the corrupted file is opened. Most viruses can be detected, quarantined, and removed early without causing any harm if you use up-to-date antivirus software.