Skip to content

Understanding the Different Types of Malware

Malware refers to dangerous software that can infiltrate and compromise computers or networks without detection. This consists of a variety of threats, including viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, worms, and Trojan horses, each with their unique modes of operation and damaging effects. Cybersecurity companies work tirelessly to identify and neutralize these deceptive codes before they inflict substantial harm.

Every type of malware poses a significant risk once it breaches a system, but the methods in which they operate differ. The following are brief explanations of how several types of malware function.
Function: Software that replicates itself over and over again once it is activated 
Threat: Viruses will corrupt or delete data 
Location: Commonly Received via email attachments 
Function: Software that generates on-screen advertisements (pop-ups) 
Threat: Can corrupt your data and block your internet access
Location: Found online, often through potentially unwanted programs 
Function: Software that secretly attaches to your computer’s operating system
Threat: Collects various types of information 
Location: Can be embedded in terms and conditions 
Function: Crypto-virology software that illegally blocks access to your own files 
Threat: It will lock your files until a ransom is paid or data is restored from Backup
Location: Generally delivered through a downloaded file or an email attachment 
Function: Software that exploits computer vulnerabilities and spreads like a virus 
Threat: Replicates until the point that it damages your network and consumes bandwidth 
Location: Executables that exploit vulnerable code 
Function: Software that appears legitimate, is activated once clicked, then causes damage 
Threat: Designed to damage your computer in many ways–disrupt, steal, infect, etc. 
Location: Appears in seemingly normal social media ads or other links including illegal key generators 
These brief definitions highlight some of the primary functions of these malicious software programs, all of which are equally worrisome if your computer is compromised. You should note there are other threats not covered here, such as Botnets, Cryptojacking, Rootkits which also target systems. Then, there is a whole class of threats that take a completely different trajectory such as spam, spoofing and phishing which target end users directly. All of these are designed to breach your fundamental defenses.

So, how can you protect yourself? Cybersecurity tools like EDR (Endpoint Detect and Response), a SOC (Security Operations Center) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions. Bottom line, modern threats require modern defenses.