[Look] Riskware Definition/Types/Effects/Identification/Removal [MiniTool Wiki]
What Is Riskware?
Riskware is a word used to describe software whose installation and execution pose a possible yet not definite risk to a host computer due to security vulnerability, legal violation, or software incompatibility. It is a portmanteau of word “risk” and “software”; Risk + Software = Riskware.
Relatively legitimate applications can be detected as riskware for some programs can be modified for another purpose and used against the computer users or owner. They aren’t designed to be riskware, but they do have functions that can be used for malicious purposes.
How Does Riskware Work?
Usually, riskware will leave systems vulnerable in one of the following two major ways.
- Legal risks: Abuse illegal attempts or privacy to modify applications.
- App and data exploit: Rely on the vulnerability of program misuse and data breaches.
Typically, riskware will make use of some of the below features:
- Access to key system operation locations, such as registry and Internet functionality protocols.
- Access to data-gathering hardware like microphone, camera, and GPS.
- Access to system kernel, which is the data at the system’s core.
- Software modification to change code, disable features, etc.
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It’s impossible to record all types of riskware since a lot of programs can pose risks. Yet, we can collect some common riskware kinds just as below. Some of them you may hear before.
- Dialer tools
- File downloaders
- System patches
- Computer monitors
- Password managers
- Remote access programs
- Internet relay chat (IRC)
- Internet server services including web, proxy, FTP, and telnet.
- System rooting programs
- Data packet sniffing apps
However, it is more effective to classify riskware types by the types of risks they bring to us. They are as these:
- Programs that create unwanted vulnerabilities
- Programs that provide access for malware
- Programs that monitor user behavior
- Programs that violate terms of service (TOS) or other software
- Programs that violate laws
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Riskware Bad Effects
Generally, riskware can cause one or more of the below 3 bad effects to you.
- System or network damage
- System hijacks or unauthorized system access
- Legal violation
How to Identify Riskware?
First of all, if a program gets system permissions automatically without your manual authorization, it should be considered riskware.
Secondly, if a program gets permission to access various of your data-gathering apps including registry, contacts, microphone, and camera. It may also want other expansive permissions. Then, it turns out a great chance to be a riskware.
Thirdly, if a program is unsupported by its developer or outdated, it tends to be probed by hackers for vulnerabilities. Then, it tends to be riskware.
Fourthly, if a program is a pirated or cracked version, it itself is potentially unsafe. Therefore, just avoid using such kind of software.
Finally, if a program blatantly violates the intentional features of other apps, it surely will be regarded as riskware.
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Is Riskware Bad?
Yes and no. why? As described above, riskware is original legitimate software that isn’t intended to harm your computer. They are just been hijacked by malicious programs or hackers. Yet, riskware does have a chance to help hackers to attack your machine.
How to Avoid Riskware Attacks?
After a brief understanding of riskware, then most importantly, how to prevent being attacked by riskware? Just follow the below suggestions!
While installing or using programs:
- Restrict programs that run with admin-level permissions.
- Read all their TOS.
- Read prompts and terms before progressing forward to install any other apps.
Other advice to keep yourself safe from risk attacks:
- Always download from official, authorized, or trusted sources.
- Only keep programs that you authorized on your computer and avoid apps that require many permissions unnecessarily.
- Limit administrator privileges and other deep system access and create a secondary non-admin level account for daily use.
- Eliminate any one of them who inhibits other crucial programs from working properly.
- Avoid illegal or explicit downloads on your computer.
- Upgrade your programs using the files from its original developers and keep them up-to-date.
- Scan your machine for malware regularly and real-time protect your computer with firewall and antiviruses like Kaspersky and Malwarebytes.
- Always keep in mind computer security and never do actions that may put your system at risk.
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How to Remove Riskware?
If you think you already have riskware on your computer or your antivirus warns you of that, you may consider removing it from your machine. Then how?
It is easy to delete riskware from your PC. Just uninstall it normally and have your security software give a full scan on your system for leftovers and potential threats lurking in hidden scripts. Once detected, just get rid of them once and for all.