Broker Check

A Guide to Malware

January 06, 2021

Malware - malicious software - is a common name for many types of harmful programs. A post by Ashely Linkheart, "The Different Types of Malware" in Cyber Security Intelligence lists ten types of malware with examples of how they are used.

  1. Adware attempts to direct a user to unwanted, potentially malicious advertising. According to Avast it is responsible for 72% of mobile malware.
  2. Spyware infects a device to collect keystrokes or data, or to study behavior without the user's knowledge. Spyware was used in the Target hack. 
  3. Ransomware encrypts data, with criminals demanding a ransom in return for its release.
  4. Computer virus attaches to a host file and infects other files. Email attachments are a common vector.
  5. Computer worms are stand alone, self-replicating software that spreads through a network; NotPetya is an example.
  6. A Trojan horse or simply a "Trojan" is seemingly legitimate software that tricks a user into downloading it.
  7. Botnets are networks of "zombie" computers used for DDoS and spam email attacks.
  8. Rootkit is a collection of software tools that can gain access to an operating system.
  9. Fileless malware is malicious code that exploits legitimate programs and systems.
  10. Scareware is a scam that displays pop-ups to trick a user into installing fake security software.

Cyber criminals today may use hybrid forms of malware that are harder to detect, contain and remove.

It's easier to prevent a malware attack than remove it. prevention requires a positive approach using multiple strategies. Refer to the article at for details.