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What Are the Different Types of Malware and Their Functions


Types of malware

Malware is still a relatively rare term and is unfamiliar to many lay computer users. Essentially the term refers to any of the software that is created with the malicious intent to damage the host computer or perform unauthorized installations and procedures without the knowledge of the user are the types of malware.


Malware also refers to the forms of spyware and adware that perform covert operations on your computer. 


Malware is different from viruses but both share the common source of creation with the specific intention of causing damage to the host computer. A legitimate program that installs and does not work properly because it has flaws is not malware.


Malware is more common in user-installed installations such as peer-to-peer applications than in purchased software. Some forms of the most common types of ways in which malware repairs itself on your computer is by using Trojans and rootkits.


Trojans as the term implies are harmful installations that are hidden in seemingly harmful installations. While running these installations seems harmless what the user does not understand is that malware also covertly installs itself in parallel.


Aside from installations malware also needs to hide itself so that it can continue to work on your computer and this is where types of rootkits come in. Rootkits ensure that the types of malware installed on your computer are undetectable and do not appear in your system process list.


Advanced types of rootkits also fight any attempt to remove them. For example, a malware program may simultaneously create ‘ghost’ versions of itself and whenever it detects that one of the ‘ghosts’ has been disabled or deleted the original program quickly defends itself by creating replacements for files that have been disabled or deleted.


Some of the known malware installations include Blaster Sasser and Mydoom.


Another type of unauthorized malware that is similar to malware is called gray software. Unlike malware, gray software is harmless and usually stops being just annoying. 


Grayware includes advertisements on the computer that you have not approved and joke programs that are used to annoy the user instead of harming the computer.


These can be quite tedious in themselves and are usually difficult to get rid of as malware so they are categorized along with it.


Besides, such software can also endanger the security of your computer and make your system vulnerable to malicious installations like types of worms. Forms of Gray and malware can also enter your system using unauthorized codes from devices on your USB ports and homogeneity in accessing your administrative network.


Therefore users must know how to identify the different types of malware to help protect yourself and your business systems from harm. While some are known others are less understood.


1. Worms

Types of Worms are spread through software vulnerabilities or phishing attacks on the computer. Once a worm has installed itself in your computer’s memory it starts infecting the entire machine and in some cases … your entire network.


Depending on the types of worm malware and your security measures they can cause serious damage. These parasitic necrosis can:


– Modify and delete files

– Injected malware into computers

– Duplicate themselves over and over again to drain system resources

– Steal your data

– Install a convenient back door for hackers

– Types of worms can infect the computer quickly consuming bandwidth and overloading your web server in the process.


2. Viruses

Unlike worms types, viruses need an active operating system or software already infected to work on the computer. Viruses are usually attached to an executable file or a word document.


Most people are probably aware that the .exe file extension can lead to problems if it is not from a trusted source. But there are hundreds of other file extensions that indicate an executable file.


Usually spread through infected sites file-sharing or email attachments a virus will lie dormant until the infected host file is activated. Once this happens the virus can replicate itself and spread it in your systems.


For computer viruses, your contact list is equivalent to a train laden with colds. It snatches up your apps and uses your apps to sneeze at everyone … send infected files to your colleague’s friends and clients. Because it appears to come from a reliable source it has a much higher chance of spreading.


3. Bots & Botnets

A bot is a computer that is infected with malware so that it can be controlled remotely by a hacker.


This bot can then be used to launch more attacks or be part of a bot collection.


Botanical networks are popular among hackers and cybercriminals who distribute ransomware and malware. Botnets can contain millions of devices as they spread undetected.


Botnets help hackers with all types of malicious software activities including:


DDoS attacks

– Keypad registration screenshots and webcam access

– Distributing other types of malware

– Sending spam and phishing messages


4. Trojan Horses

Just as it sounds a Trojan horse is a malicious type of program software disguised as a legitimate file. Because it looks reliable users download it and … hey presto in enemy storms.


Trojans themselves are an opening. Unlike a worm, they need a host to enslave. 

Once you have the types of trojan on your device hackers can use it to:


– Delete modify and capture data

– Harvest your device as part of a botnet

– Spy on your device

– Get access to your network


5. Ransomware

Ransomware and malware denies or restricts access to your files. Then he demands payment in exchange for your return.


In May 2017 a ransomware attack spread across 150 countries and compromised over 200000 computers in just one day. The attack was called WannaCry causing damage estimated at hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.


WannaCry has affected MS operating systems for which the latest patch for known vulnerabilities has not been installed. 

To reduce the risk of ransomware attacks:


– Always keep your operating system up to date

– Update your antivirus software

– Back up your most important files

– Do not open attachments from unknown sources


6. Adware & Scams

Adware is one of the better-known types of malware. It displays pop-ups and display ads that are often irrelevant to you.


Some users will come up with certain types of adware malware in exchange for free software. But not all adware is the same. 


At best it annoys and slows down your machine. At worst the ads link to sites where malicious downloads are waiting for innocent users. Adware can also provide spyware and is often easily hacked making devices that have installed them as a soft target for hackers, phishers, and fraudsters.


7. Spyware

Spyware secretly records your online activity collects your data and collects personal information such as usernames passwords and browsing habits.


Spyware is a common threat usually distributed as freeware or sharing software that has an attractive front-end function with a hidden mission running in the background that you may never notice. It is often used to commit identity theft and credit card fraud.


Once on your computer spyware transmits your data to advertisers or cybercriminals. Some spyware fixes additional forms of malware that changes your settings.


8. Spam & Phishing

Impersonation is a type of attack on social engineering, not a malware type. But this is a common method for cyber attacks. 


Successful impersonation because the emails text messages and web links created appear to be from trusted sources. They are sent by criminals to fraudulently acquire personal and financial information.


Attackers have many methods and techniques for disrupting and harming users networks and systems. 

Basic security practices such as regular user awareness training and patch management will find you in a much better position to create actionable steps to alleviate unwanted threats and make a real difference in the overall cybersecurity improvement program.