Learn how Malware Operates and Types

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any software intentionally created to cause harm to a computer system, server, network, or user. It is a broad term that encompasses various types of harmful software created by cybercriminals for various purposes. In this guide, we will delve deeper into the major types of malware and their characteristics.


A computer virus is a type of malware that, much like a biological virus, attaches itself to a host (e.g., a file or software) and replicates when the host is executed. Viruses can corrupt, delete or modify data, and slow down system performance.


Worms are self-replicating malware that spread through networks without human intervention. They exploit system vulnerabilities, consuming bandwidth and sometimes carrying a payload to infect target machines.

Trojan Horse

A trojan horse is a piece of software disguised as a legitimate program but contains harmful code. Users unknowingly download and install it, giving the attacker unauthorized access to the computer or network. Trojans can be used to steal data, create a backdoor, or launch additional malware attacks.


Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts its victims’ files and demands a ransom, typically in the form of cryptocurrency, for the decryption key. If the victim refuses or fails to pay within a specified time, the encrypted data may be lost forever.


Spyware is a type of malware designed to collect and relay information about a user or organization without their consent. It can capture keystrokes, record browsing history, and access personal data such as usernames and passwords.


Adware is advertising-supported software that automatically displays or downloads advertising materials, often in the form of pop-up ads, on a user’s computer. While not always malicious, adware can be intrusive and open the door for other malware infections.


A rootkit is a type of malware designed to hide or obscure the presence of other malicious programs on a computer system. This enables it to maintain persistent unauthorized access to the system and can make it difficult for users or security software to detect and remove infected files.


Keyloggers are a type of malware that monitor and record users’ keystrokes, allowing attackers to capture sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information entered on a keyboard.

Understanding the different types of malware can help you better identify and protect against various cyber threats. As the cyber landscape continues to evolve, it’s essential to stay informed about emerging malware and equip yourself with the necessary security skills and knowledge.