The most common types of malware are viruses, keyloggers, worms, trojans, ransomware/crypto-malware attacks, logic bombs, bots/botnets, adware & spyware, and rootkits.

What Are The Different Types Of Malware Software
What Are The Different Types Of Malware Software

What Are The Different Types Of Malware Software? By creating security policies, implementing security awareness training, utilizing app-based multi-factor authentication, installing anti-malware and spam filters, altering default operating system policies, and conducting routine vulnerability assessments, malware attacks can be reduced or prevented.

It is imperative to emphasize that no system is “hacker-proof” or entirely free of flaws. Threat actors are nearly guaranteed to find a way in if they have the resources-time, money, and workforce to carry out an assault.

There are many different types of malware software, including viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, bots or botnets, adware, spyware, rootkits, fileless malware, and logic bombs. These malicious programs can steal data or encrypt files, and it is important to be aware of the different types in order to prevent them from infecting your computer.

Video: Types of Malware

Types of Malware

Malware: Exactly What Is It?

Malicious software is referred to as “malware” informally. Malicious software that is created with the intent to damage computers and computer systems is known as malware. On the other side, software that unintentionally damages users is a software flaw.

What Are The Different Types Of Malware Software

People frequently ask what the difference is between malware and viruses. The difference is that malware refers to a wide range of internet threats, including viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, and other forms of harmful software. One type of malware is a computer virus.

Phishing, malicious attachments, harmful downloads, social engineering, and flash drives are all ways that malware might enter a network. This examination looks at common malware categories.

Malware Types Most Common

To protect yourself from being hacked, it is essential to be aware of the various malware attacks of cyber security. Certain types of malware are well-known, at least by name, while others are not:

1. Spyware

The term “advertising-supported software,” or “adware,” refers to programs that display unwanted and occasionally harmful advertising on computer screens or mobile devices, reroute search engine results to commercial websites, and gather user data that can be sold to advertisers without the user’s knowledge. While some adware is safe to use and lawful, some are dangerous for endpoint security.

By setting pop-up controls and preferences in their browsers or by using an ad blocker, users may often regulate the frequency of adware or the kind of downloads they permit.

Examples of malware

  • When an Israeli software vendor found 250 million devices and one-fifth of corporate networks worldwide infected with Fireball in 2017, it made the news. Your browser is taken over by Fireball when it damages your PC.
  • Another general adware application that performs browser hijacking is called Appear. It usually comes along with other free software and clogs the browser with so much advertising that using the internet is exceedingly challenging.

2. Spyware

Spyware is malware that hides on your device, watches behavior, and takes private information, including logins, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information. Spyware can propagate by taking advantage of software flaws, being packed with trustworthy programs, threat actor or being contained in Trojan horses.

Examples of spyware

  • The software CoolWebSearch exploited Internet Explorer’s security flaws to take control of the browser, modify its settings, and transfer surfing information to the program’s creator.
  • Gator – This malware, frequently installed with file-sharing software like Kazaa, keeps track of the victim’s web browsing patterns and exploits that data to provide them with targeted advertisements.

3. Crypto-malware and ransomware

A ransomware malware infection is created to lock people out of their computers or prevent them from accessing data until a ransom is paid.

Crypto-malware and ransomware
Crypto-malware and ransomware

The ransomware, known as crypto-malware, encrypts user files and demands payment by a deadline, frequently using a virtual currency like Bitcoin. For many years, ransomware has posed a constant danger to businesses in various sectors.

Ransomware instances

  • Cybercriminals utilized CryptoLocker, a type of malware common in 2013 and 2014, to access and encrypt a system’s data. Cybercriminals tricked workers into downloading ransomware onto their computers, infecting the network, and using social engineering techniques.
  • Ransomware called the Phobos virus first surfaced in 2019. This ransomware variant is based on the well-known Dharma (also known as Crysis) family of malware.

4. Trojans

A Trojan (or Trojan Horse) is malicious software that impersonates trustworthy software to deceive you into running it on your computer. Users download it because it seems reliable, unwittingly allowing malware to infect their device. Trojans are a portal unto themselves.

examples of trojans

  • The Qbot malware type, often referred to as “Qakbot” or “Pinkslipbot,” is a banking Trojan that has been active since 2007 and is designed to steal user information and login passwords. During its evolution, new delivery channels, command and control strategies, and anti-analysis features have been added to the malware.
  • The TrickBot Trojan was created and is used by skilled cybercriminals. It was originally discovered in 2016. TrickBot was initially created as a banking Trojan to steal financial data. Still, it has since developed into modular, multi-stage malware that gives its operators a complete set of tools to engage in various nefarious online activities.

5. Worms

One of the most common forms of malware, worms, spread through computer networks by taking advantage of holes in the operating system. A self-replicating program known as a worm infects other computers without the assistance of a person. Due to their rapid proliferation, worms are typically used to execute a payload-a piece of code intended to damage a system. Payloads can encrypt data for a ransomware attack, steal information, delete files, launch botnets, and erase files on a host machine.

A well-known computer worm network security called SQL Slammer spread without utilizing conventional methods. Instead, it broadcasts itself to a list of random IP addresses to find users who were unprotected by antivirus software. As a result, more than 75,000 infected computers were mistakenly used in DDoS attacks on various large websites shortly after it was detected in 2003.

6. Viruses

A code that enters an application and runs when launched is known as a virus. A virus can steal sensitive data, conduct DDoS attacks, or carry out ransomware after entering a network. A virus usually spreads through malicious websites, file sharing, or email attachment downloads and lies dormant until the host software or file is activated. Once this occurs, the virus can reproduce and spread across your systems.

One such virus is Stuxnet. When Stuxnet first surfaced in 2010, it was widely believed that the US and Israeli governments had developed it to hamper Iran’s nuclear development. Through a USB flash drive, it gained access to Siemens’ industrial control systems, causing centrifuges to malfunction and self-destruct at an alarming rate. Iran’s nuclear program was put off for years by Stuxnet, which is claimed to have infected over 20,000 computers and damaged one-fifth of its nuclear centrifuges.

7. Keyloggers

A type of spyware or mobile malware that monitors user activities is a keylogger. Keyloggers can be used for legitimate causes, such as by parents watching over their kids’ internet activities or employers keeping an eye on worker behavior. On the other side, if deliberately installed, keyloggers can be used to gather financial details, passwords, and other private data. Systems can become infected with keyloggers by social engineering, phishing, or malicious downloads.

a keylogger example

  • A University of Iowa student was sentenced to prison in 2017 after placing keyloggers on staff computers to collect login credentials for manipulating and changing grades. The student was found guilty and given a four-month jail term.

8. Bots and botnets

A computer infected with malware is referred to as a “bot,” and a hacker may be able to manage it remotely. The bot, also known as a zombie computer system, can then launch other attacks or join a botnet, a network of bots. Millions of devices may be included in a botnet, which can spread covertly. Hackers can carry out malicious activities, including DDoS attacks, spam and phishing communications, and malware dissemination with the help of botnets.

Botnet examples include:

  • Andromeda-themed malware – 80 different malware families are associated with the Andromeda botnet. It spread through social media, instant messaging, spam emails, exploit kits, and other channels to the point that it was infecting a million new PCs each month.
  • Mirai – In 2016, a significant DDoS attack disrupted internet service along sections of the US East Coast. The attack, which officials initially believed was the action of a hostile nation-state, was carried out by the Mirai botnet. With the help of a botnet, the Mirai virus targets Internet of Things (IoT) devices and infects them.

9. PUP malware

PUPs, or potentially unwanted programs, are software applications that could contain pop-up windows, toolbars, and advertisements unrelated to the software you downloaded. PUP developers point out that, unlike malware, their programs are downloaded with the users’ consent; therefore, strictly speaking, PUPs are not necessarily malware.

PUP malware illustration

  • The Mindspark malware was a simple PUP to set up and sneakily downloaded onto consumers’ computers. Without the user’s knowledge, Mindspark can alter settings and initiate actions on the device. It is famously challenging to get rid of.

10. Hybrids

Today, most malware is a mashup of many forms of harmful software, frequently combining components of Trojans, worms, and rarely viruses. The malware program typically seems like a Trojan to the end user, but once it has been run, it assaults more victims via the network like a worm.


Hybrid malware illustration

  • A worm/rootkit hybrid piece of malware was launched in 2001 by a malware creator named “Lion.” Worms are effective vehicles for quickly disseminating code fragments, whereas rootkits give hackers access to operating system files. As a result of this deadly combination, more than 10,000 Linux systems were damaged. Malware combining a worm with a rootkit was created to take advantage of Linux systems’ weaknesses.

11. Malware without files

Malicious software that leverages dedicated apps to infect a computer is known as fileless malware. It is difficult to detect and get rid of because it does not rely on files and leaves no traces. In 2017, fileless malware became a standard attack, but many of these techniques had been present for some time.

Samples of fileless malware

  • The Dark Avenger, Number of the Beast, and Frodo were all early examples of this kind of spyware or any malicious program.

12. Logical errors

Malware known as logic bombs only operates when activated on a particular date and time or after 20 successful logins. Logic bombs are frequently seen in viruses and worms and are used to deliver their payload-malicious code at a specific time or in response to the fulfillment of another requirement. Logic bombs can alter data bytes or render hard drives unreadable, among other things.

Logic bomb illustration

  • In 2016, a programmer kept making spreadsheets break at a Siemens business branch, forcing them to keep hiring him back to address the issue. In this instance, no one was suspicious of anything until a coincidence made the malicious code obvious.

How is malware spread or introduced?

Email is the primary method used to spread malware. Some estimates place the percentage at 94% email. However, fraudsters employ numerous methods to launch a virus attack. These are only a handful of the frequent tactics they use, some of which are fusions of others.

How is malware spread or introduced?
How is malware spread or introduced?
  • When a computer is subjected to a browser assault, the attacker injects malware into the system, which then secretly installs itself into the browser to record data exchanged between the victim and specifically chosen websites.
  • When thieves manually look for security gaps in devices and networks into which malware malicious actors may be inserted, they exploit security vulnerabilities.
  • Exploiting security weaknesses manually is preferable to using exploit kits. They are prewritten scripts that are used to find device security weaknesses and then introduce malware into them.
  • When customers visit a malicious website that hosts a malware exploit kit, drive-by downloads occur.
  • The practice of manipulating people’s emotions to get them to click dangerous links, open malicious attachments, or divulge private information that can be used fraudulently is known as social engineering. Phishing, vishing, and smishing are all included.

How can malware be avoided?

No one solution will stop all malware because it is so pervasive, and millions of new dangerous files are detected daily. For this reason, we advise employing various solutions to give your PCs additional protection.

Apply software

Here is a list of various malware removal programs that we suggest:

  • BitDefender: BitDefender is a complete antivirus program that safeguards over 500 million users worldwide. It offers unmatched virus and endpoint protection. The BitDefender demo is free.
  • The most effective and widely used anti-malware program available is called Malwarebytes. The application prevents you from running dangerous files or going to risky websites and does thorough scans. In addition, Malwarebytes provides a risk-free demo.
  • TitanFile – You may securely send and receive private information with TitanFile, a straightforward and safe file-sharing platform. TitanFile does an automatic virus check on all files before downloading them to your PC. A free trial of TitanFile is available.
  • Spybots (spambots) – Effectively guard against spyware by stopping the transfer of your personal information and other data to outside parties. Obtain entry.

Be cautious

  • You could also prevent malware from infecting your computer by using caution and common sense. Observations are as follows:
  • Never click on a link in an email that seems shady or too good to be true.
  • It is not advised to download files from shady websites since they can include malicious software.
  • Avoid using public networks with your laptop for business.


Malware occasionally results in irreparable harm, such as file encryption and loss, as previously mentioned on this page. Therefore, keep a backup of your files to restore them if something similar occurs, saving you a lot of hassle.



What exactly is harmful software defined as?

Malicious software, sometimes known as malware, is designed to harm or destroy computers and computer systems. Malicious software is referred to as “malware” informally. Examples of malware include Trojan viruses, worms, spyware, adware, and ransomware.

How often is malicious software?

Currently, there are more than one billion malware programs available online. Four companies are the targets of ransomware every minute. Additionally, 58% of all cybercrime is the result of Trojans.

What exactly falls under Class 7 harmful software?

Malware: Examples of harmful software that might infect your computer include viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and adware. A virus is a harmful program that multiplies itself to destroy a computer.

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