Types of Malware

6 Types of Malware


Malware, short for malicious software, is a persistent threat to computer systems and networks worldwide. It encompasses various types of harmful programs that can cause significant damage, compromise security, and steal sensitive information. In this blog article, we will explore some of the most common types of malware and their characteristics.


1 Virus

2 Worms

3 Trojans

4 Spyware

5 Adware

6 Ransomware


1 Viruses

A virus is a piece of code that enters a program and executes when it is launched. Once within a network, a virus can steal valuable information, launch DDoS assaults, or carry out ransomware operations. A virus is often distributed through malicious websites, file sharing, or email attachment downloads and remains dormant until the infected host file or program is triggered. Once this occurs, the virus may multiply and propagate across your systems.



Virus illustration:


Stuxnet – When it first surfaced in 2010, it was widely assumed that the US and Israeli governments were working together to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. It infiltrated Siemens industrial control systems using a USB flash drive, causing centrifuges to malfunction and self-destruct at an alarming pace. Stuxnet is thought to have infected over 20,000 computers and destroyed one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, delaying the country’s nuclear program by years.


2 Worms

Worms, one of the most popular forms of malware, propagate across computer networks by exploiting operating system flaws. A worm is a self-replicating software that infects other computers without the need for human intervention. Worms are frequently employed to execute a payload—a piece of code designed to harm a system—due to their rapid propagation. Payloads have the ability to erase files on a host system, encrypt data for a ransomware attack, steal information, delete files, and spawn botnets.


Worm illustration:


SQL Slammer was a well-known computer worm that did not spread through usual means. Instead, it created random IP addresses and broadcasted itself to them, searching for people who were not protected by antivirus software. Soon after it was discovered in 2003, more than 75,000 infected machines were unintentionally participating in DDoS assaults on numerous large websites. Despite the fact that the essential security patch has been available for many years, SQL Slammer witnessed a revival in 2016 and 2017.


3 Trojans

A Trojan (or Trojan Horse) masquerades as genuine software in order to mislead you into running dangerous software on your computer. Users download it because it appears trustworthy, accidentally putting malware onto their device. Trojans are portals in and of themselves. They, unlike worms, require a host to function. Once installed, a Trojan may be used by hackers to destroy, change, or collect data, harvest your device as part of a botnet, spy on your device, or get network access.


Examples of Trojans:


Qbot virus, also known as ‘Qakbot’ or ‘Pinkslipbot,’ is a banking Trojan that has been active since 2007. Its primary goal is to steal user data and banking passwords. New distribution mechanisms, command and control tactics, and anti-analysis features have been added to the virus.


TrickBot virus, originally discovered in 2016, is a Trojan designed and used by clever cybercriminals. TrickBot was originally created as a banking Trojan to steal financial data, but it has since grown into modular, multi-stage malware that gives its operators a full set of tools to engage in a variety of criminal cyber operations.


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4 Spyware

Spyware is a type of malware that lurks on your device, watches behavior, and steals sensitive data such as financial information, account information, logins, and more. Spyware can propagate by exploiting software flaws, or it can be packed with legal software or embedded in Trojans.


Examples of spyware:


CoolWebSearch – This application used Internet Explorer’s security flaws to hijack the browser, modify its settings, and transfer surfing data to its author.

Gator – This application, which is usually installed with file-sharing software like Kazaa, watches the victim’s online browsing patterns and exploits the information to provide them with targeted adverts.


5 Adware


Adware, an abbreviation for “advertising-supported software,” is software that shows unwanted and often hazardous advertising on a computer screen or mobile device, redirects search results to advertising websites, and collects user data that may be sold to advertisers without the user’s agreement. Some adware is lawful and safe to use, while others are malicious.


Users may typically influence the frequency of adware or the kind of downloads they allow by configuring pop-up settings and options in their browsers or by installing an ad blocker.


Examples of adware:


Fireball – In 2017, an Israeli software business revealed that it had infected 250 million machines and one-fifth of all corporate networks globally. When Fireball infiltrates your computer, it takes control of your browser. It modifies your homepage to a bogus search engine called Trotus and puts intrusive advertisements into each webpage you visit. It also prohibits you from changing the settings of your browser.

Appearch – Another prevalent adware application that serves as a browser hijacker is Appearch. It is typically packaged with other free software and inserts so many advertisements into the browser that online browsing becomes extremely difficult. When you try to access a website, you are sent to Appearch translates random blocks if you browse a web page. Appearch turns random blocks of text into links, and when you pick the text, a pop-up window appears inviting you to download software upgrades.


  1. Crypto-malware and ransomware

Ransomware is software that is meant to lock users out of their systems or prevent them from accessing data until a ransom is paid. Crypto-malware is a sort of ransomware that encrypts user files and demands payment by a certain date, typically in the form of a digital currency such as Bitcoin. For many years, ransomware has been a persistent danger to enterprises across sectors. The chance of being targeted in a ransomware assault has increased significantly as more firms embrace digital transformation.


Examples of ransomware:


CryptoLocker is a kind of malware that was popular in 2013 and 2014, and it was used by cyber criminals to gain access to and encrypt files on a machine. Social engineering techniques were employed by cybercriminals to lure staff into installing ransomware onto their devices, infecting the network. Once installed, CryptoLocker would display a ransom notice offering to unlock the data in exchange for a cash or Bitcoin payment by the specified time. While the CryptoLocker ransomware has already been removed, its operators are estimated to have extorted roughly three million dollars from unsuspecting enterprises.

Phobos ransomware is a kind of ransomware that first surfaced in 2019. This ransomware strain is based on the previously known Dharma (aka CrySis) malware family.


How is malware distributed?

The following are the most frequent methods for malware threats to spread:


Email: Malware can compel your computer to send emails with infected attachments or links to malicious websites if your email has been compromised. The virus is placed on the recipient’s machine when they open the attachment or click the link, and the cycle continues.

Hackers can load malware onto USB flash drives and wait for unwary victims to insert them into their PCs. This method is frequently employed in business espionage.

Pop-up notifications: These include fraudulent security alerts that fool you into installing bogus security software, which can include more malware in some situations.

Vulnerabilities: Malware can obtain unauthorized access to a computer, device, or network due to a security flaw in the program.

Backdoors: Intentional or unintentional holes in software, hardware, networks, or system security.

Drive-by downloads are unintentional software downloads that occur with or without the end-user’s knowledge.

Privilege escalation: When an attacker gains elevated access to a computer or network and then utilizes it to conduct an attack.

Homogeneity: When all systems use the same operating system and are linked to the same network, the likelihood of a successful worm spreading to additional computers increases.

Malware packages that mix characteristics from numerous varieties of malware, making them more difficult to identify and stop since they may exploit multiple vulnerabilities.


Malware Infection Symptoms

If you’ve seen any of the following, your device may be infected with malware:


A computer that is sluggish, crashes, or freezes

The well-known ‘blue screen of death’

Programs that launch and close automatically or change themselves

Increased pop-ups, toolbars, and other unwelcome applications due to a lack of storage space

Emails and texts are being sent without your knowledge.

Use antivirus software to defend yourself against malware threats:


Using a complete antivirus is the greatest approach to defend yourself against a malware attack and possibly harmful apps. Kaspersky Total Security protects your data and devices from hackers, viruses, and malware 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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