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Malware and its types

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 25 Jan, 2019
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Malware is a program designed to gain access to computer systems, normally for the benefit of some third party, without the user’s permission. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware and other malicious programs.

Types of Malware:

  • Viruses –
    A Virus is a malicious executable code attached to another executable file. The virus spreads when an infected file is passed from system to system. Viruses can be harmless or they can modify or delete data. Opening a file can trigger a virus. Once a program virus is active, it will infect other programs on the computer.

  • Worms –
    Worms replicate themselves on the system, attaching themselves to different files and looking for pathways between computers, such as computer network that shares common file storage areas. Worms usually slow down networks. A virus needs a host program to run but worms can run by themselves. After a worm affects a host, it is able to spread very quickly over the network.

  • Spyware –
    Its purpose is to steal private information from a computer system for a third party. Spyware collects information and sends it to the hacker.

  • Trojan horse –
    A Trojan horse is malware that carries out malicious operations under the appearance of a desired operation such as playing an online game. A Trojan horse varies from a virus because the Trojan binds itself to non-executable files, such as image files, audio files.

  • Logic Bombs –
    A logic bomb is a malicious program that uses a trigger to activate the malicious code. The logic bomb remains non-functioning until that trigger event happens. Once triggered, a logic bomb implements a malicious code that causes harm to a computer. Cybersecurity specialists recently discovered logic bombs that attack and destroy the hardware components in a workstation or server including the cooling fans, hard drives, and power supplies. The logic bomb overdrives these devices until they overheat or fail.

  • Ransomware –
    Ransomware grasps a computer system or the data it contains until the victim makes a payment. Ransomware encrypts data in the computer with a key which is unknown to the user. The user has to pay a ransom (price) to the criminals to retrieve data. Once the amount is paid the victim can resume using his/her system.

  • Backdoors –
    A backdoor bypasses the usual authentication used to access a system. The purpose of the backdoor is to grant the cyber criminals future access to the system even if the organization fixes the original vulnerability used to attack the system.

  • Rootkits –
    A rootkit modifies the OS to make a backdoor. Attackers then use the backdoor to access the computer distantly. Most rootkits take advantage of software vulnerabilities to modify system files.

  • Keyloggers –
    Keylogger records everything the user types on his/her computer system to obtain passwords and other sensitive information and send them to the source of the keylogging program.
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