Types of Malware

A virus is just one type of malware. Other types include:

  • Adware: though adware generally does not damage files, it does track user activity (including browser usage and downloads) and displays advertising that is usually unwanted.
  • Botnet: a botnet, or a 'robot-network', is a collection of 'bots', which are devices that have been compromised by malware and are being controlled by a central attacker.
  • Cryptocurrency miner: whilst some users have knowingly installed this type of software to attempt to acquire cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin), miners are often installed in a botnet fashion, using the infected system's resources to mine for cryptocurrency for someone else (and often making the system extremely slow).
  • Keylogger: a type of malware that records every keystroke made by a computer user in order to gain unauthorised access to passwords and other confidential information.
  • Ransomware: a type of malware that encrypts data or devices, and demands payment for decryption.
  • Rootkit: a particular type of malware designed to stay undetected and allow unauthorised access to a system, potentially allowing elevated access (administrator level) and often avoiding detection by antivirus software.
  • Spyware: a type of malware that monitors user activity and collects information, without the user's knowledge.
  • Trojan: disguising itself as a legitimate program, a trojan enters a system and then performs malicious activity.
  • Worm: like a virus, a worm does self-replicate, but unlike a virus it can do so without attaching itself to a program.