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What is Malware and What Are Common Types Of Malware

Tyrell Price| Security | 9 months, 1 week


Malware basically means malicious software and once it infects the host computer then it can pose various degrees of threats such as stealing user’s data and private info, bypassing access control to do unauthorised tasks, or corrupt the existing data. So malware is any piece of software which has potential to intentionally damage or disrupt the host computer which it targets and can also harm the people associated with that device or data. 


The notion of high iq whizkid hackers typing away in black terminal screens to have fun and test their skills is not true anymore. Building and distributing malwares has become an organised criminal activity and also involves institutional bodies targeting information to put their opponents into jeopardy. 


Malware is a broad super set term which includes various different sub sets based on type and degree of damage that the malware does and also based on how the malware spreads across to other devices. 


1. Bots 

 Bot is a piece of software that runs particular tasks repeatedly and autonomously . Bots in general are not bad and are not particularly classified as malware as they can be used for variety of purposes such as automating customer support, building chatbots for customer facing touch points, in video games, for online social profiles. But a very specialised variety of bots are increasingly being used for malicious purposes as part of wider network called Botnets — which are network of infected computers controlled by third parties — who use them for executing things such as DDoS attacks, spammy advertisements on websites and scraping data in an unauthorised way. CAPTCHAs do a very good job at distinguishing bots from real humans. 


2. Adware

 Pop-up ads, random ads on lock screen of your android phones etc are really annoying and are often examples of adware which is a malcilious software designed to hijack host’s device and deliver non relevant ads in a very agressive manner. To increase the click through rates of served ads, these adware might pop up ads at the moments where you least expect them and are most likely to click or tap. 


3. Spyware 

 It is a type of malware that hides in the background while you access your device and spies on your activities and information your put in or out. They can get see and obtain your passwords as you are logging in , your credit card numbers as you are shopping online and gather data about your browsing history etc by collecting your keystrokes as you type. They also have capabilities to send your confidential harvested data to remote servers of hackers which they in turn can misuse or sell on digital black market. 


4. Ransomware or Scareware 

This type of malware, as the name suggests, can hold your device captive by restricting your access to it or encrypting the entire file data in hard drive and then goes ahead and displays message that threatens user to pay a ransom or he won’t be able to get back in control of his device or data. One the user pays ransom to the hacker then ( usually in crypto currency like bitcoins or ethereum )  , then he sends in the decryption key or unlocks his computer. 


5. Worms 

Tthese are type of malware that spread by leveraging some kind of network, it can be a local network or more commonly interner itself. Worms are most common types of malware and they also sometimes drop a ‘payload’ or specific type of malware on the infected computer. One of the most common way a worm spreads is through infected attachments in emails.


6. Virus 

 Virus is a type of malware which is capable of copying itself or self replicating to spread internally into adjacent files/folders of the infected host computer or to other clean devices. They spread like wildfire due to their self replicating nature and can do varied degree of damage like creating botnets, stealing user’s info, injecting adwares or spywares etc. They are usually hosted inside particular executable program and get triggered into action when user opens those programs. 


7. Trojan 

 Trojan malware disguises itself as a normal or legitimate software to trick the user to install them in the first place. Once a trojan infected software is installed by the user , then it opens up the backdoors of security access discreetly for the hacker to get into and allow in more malware.


The threat of security breaches of these malware into your personal or corporate networks and devices is very real, so it is very critical to be informed about them and at the same time take all possible precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.



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