The 9 Most Common Types Of Malware
If you are an internet user then you probably have heard of malware before. Even if you have heard of it and have a general idea of what it does, a basic overview can still be helpful. Malware, which is short for malicious software, is software used by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information or gain access to private computer systems.
Malware can be presented to your computer in the form of a code, script, active content and other software. The term malware, as the description above suggests, can refer to a variety of hostile or intrusive types of software. Below is a list of the most common types of malware.
1. Computer virus – a virus is a program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer. In order to replicate itself a virus must be permitted to execute a code and write to memory. For this reason viruses have to be attached to an existing, useful program that is regularly permitted to execute.
2. Ransomware – a form of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects and demands a ransom to be paid to the creator of the malware before the restriction is removed.
3. Computer worm – a worm, like a virus, replicates itself in order to spread from computer to computer but what makes a worm different from a virus is that it does not need to attach itself to an existing program before entering a computer or network.
4. Trojan horse – a form of malware that disguises itself as a useful type of software but then facilitates unauthorized access to the user’s computer system once allowed in. Trojans do not attempt to inject themselves into other files like viruses do.
5. Rootkit – a rootkit is a type of stealthy software which conceals itself in a computer and thereby allows constant access private or restricted information in a computer system.
6. Keystroke logging – keystroke logging is the action of tracking the keys being typed on a keyboard in a covert manner. This is done in order to obtain password and username information among other things.
7. Dialers – This type of malware is becoming rarer because it relies on the dialers that connect dial-up connections to the internet. A malware dialer search for security holes in a user’s system in order to set up a computer to dial through a specific number, which generates income for the owner of the number being used.
8. Spyware – Like malware as a whole, spyware is actually a term used to describe a few specific kinds of malicious software. All spyware gathers information about a person or organization without their knowledge and then sends such information to another entity without the user’s consent, or it can assert control over a computer without the user’s knowledge. Spyware can be added to a computer as a Trojan horse, rootkit or adware.
9. Adware – adware is any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author.
Although these are just a fraction of the many types of malware out there, advanced malware is being developed constantly, so the best way you can protect yourself is to stay informed, and take action.
About the Author: Rick Delgado is a freelance writer who is an expert in technology and software development. He hopes he can help people become more informed and proactive through his writing.