Malware technology is one of the fastest and increasingly more threatening versions of terrorism. Criminals all over the world use malware technology to deceive, cheat, steal, damage and terrorize individuals, corporations and companies.
Malware technology refers to any form of software that is designed with malicious intent. The software, through deceptive means, sneaks into a computer’s operations without a user giving any permission to install the malware.
Many people don’t consider malware technology as terrorism, but a further look shows the strong connections between traditional terrorism and malware as cyber terrorism.
The goal of malware technology
The technology pretends to be something reputable or to provide a needed service. Instead through deception, malware gains sensitive information (account data, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, pin numbers).
With the data of a company or an individual, the criminal behind the malware can take over that person’s identity, steal money and ruin their credit history.
Not all malware is to steal money or identity. Sometimes malware seeks to steal control. For individuals and companies alike, a loss of control of their information and computer systems can be crippling. Hackers have shut down major websites such as CNN, Google, New York Times and others, costing millions of dollars. The malware used is not meant to gain money for the hacker, but instead to be a show of superfluous power and control.
Types of Malware
Malware often takes the form of Trojan viruses hidden behind the scenes, stealing and sharing sensitive information with criminals. Remote-controlled digital bots can do the same thing and take over computers as well.
Worms are viruses that install themselves on a computer with intention of spreading like a disease. In the past, worms have been spread through email attachments. One person downloads an email infected with a worm. The person passes the email along thus spreading the worm to others. Worms can steal information, steal a user’s control of the computer and even shut down a large network of computers at a designated time, crippling computers across the world.
Spyware is a type of software that installs itself without a user approving it. Acting and appearing as a normal program, the spyware garners sensitive information. Spyware will often take the form of Antivirus programs. The programs will say that a computer a user has a virus that the spyware can remove. Looking like a legitimate program, users pay for the antivirus, giving out sensitive information to criminals in the process, only to be duped by software that they learn is useless.
Spyware will sometimes attach itself to legitimate programs. Adware is a specific type of spyware that transmits annoying, repetitive and continuous ads to a computer’s screen, generating ad revenue for the designer while tormenting the computer user.
If the above examples aren’t enough to show how malware technology terrorizes then consider identity theft. Malware technology is fast becoming one of the most efficient tools to commit identity theft. In turn, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. The loss of security that comes with identity theft amounts to terrorism on an individual level. The emotional and financial toll robs innocent people of personal security. Malware technology allows identity theft to occur on a massive scale, draining millions of dollars from the U.S. economy each year and funneling it to other nations.