What is Malware?
Malware is a generic term for malicious software designed to damage or negatively impact a user, their experience, computer, connection, data or finances.
Glossary of Malware
A computer virus spreads itself by piggybacking and hiding its code inside another program or application, much like a biological viral infection. Not only does a computer virus spread rapidly and make the host software and computer unusable, but also exhibits malicious behaviour.
Also known as “Rogue Anti-Spyware” or “Rogue Anti-Virus”, rogues pretend to be security software. They frequently use fake warnings to force users into purchasing the software or application, which the criminals profit from by laundering money. These can be similar to “Trojans”.
Ransomware encrypts the user’s personal data or locks down the entire device. You are asked to pay a “ransom” via cryptocurrency, or an anonymous service in order to unlock your computer or your files. Typically, the only way to recover the data is from a backup, as paying the ransom will not necessarily deliver the unlock code.
Spyware is software that spies on you by collecting various types of data from your device without your knowledge.
Adware is a combination of the word “advert” and “software”. As such, this software forces adverts in front of the user. The adware itself may not be dangerous, but the display of countless adverts is annoying and disruptive and is detected by good anti-malware solutions.
A Trojan is a type of malware that is disguised as, or inside, a useful application. A Trojan’s aim is to have the user open the program, allowing it to either take control of your computer and use it for its own purpose or function in the background without user awareness. This typically results in the installation of additional malware (such as backdoors or keyloggers) to your system.
Worms are malicious applications that aim to spread as fast as possible once your computer has been infected. Unlike viruses, they don’t require a host program, but instead spread themselves through USB devices, e-mails or vulnerabilities in your computer’s operating system or other applications. Their spread causes a slowdown, affecting the performance of computers and networks, and they may also have direct malicious behaviour.
Keyloggers secretly record everything you type on your keyboard, which allows attackers to get their hands on your passwords or other important data such as online banking details.
Exploits are vulnerabilities in a computer program. Using them, an attacker can gain either partial or full control of your device. More recently exploits have been found in device firmware and in some processors.
A rootkit usually consists of several components that grant the author unauthorised access to the target system. These programs hide their processes and actions using other software and are typically installed through an exploit or a Trojan.
A backdoor is a portion of code that is usually implemented into a program by the software’s author, to enable access to your computer or an otherwise protected software function. Backdoors are often installed by Trojans once they have been executed, so that the attacker can gain direct access to your device. The infected computer, also known as a “bot”, then becomes part of a botnet.