Types of Malware:

There are various different types of malicious software, or 'malware', including:

  • Adware: a type of malware that tracks user activity (e.g. browser usage and downloads) with the intention of delivering advertising, which is often difficult to close.
  • Botnet: a botnet (from robot network) is a type of malware attack using multiple separate computers that have been infected and commanded by the attacker.
  • Cryptocurrency miner: a miner (or 'cryptojacker') is designed to harness the computing power of the infected machine to generate cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin) for the attacker.
  • Keylogger: a keylogger can monitor a great deal of user activity, including email, browsing activity, program use and keystrokes, which can be used to acquire usernames and passwords.
  • Ransomware: a type of malware that infects the computer, but rather than causing damage, it encrypts data and demands payment (the 'ransom') in return for decrypting it.
  • Rootkit: a set of software tools designed to allow an attacker to gain unauthorised access - often elevated (e.g. administrator level) access - to a computer without being detected.
  • Spyware: a little like adware, spyware is a type of malware that monitors user activity and transmits this data to the attacker without the user's knowledge.
  • Trojan: disguised as legitimate software, a trojan misleads the user in to executing it and allowing the payload to be deployed, which may include a 'backdoor' that an attacker can use to gain access.
  • Virus: a type of malware that attaches itself to legitimate programs or files, and replicates itself in order to 'infect' the computer and deploy the payload.
  • Worm: unlike a virus, a worm can self-replicate without needing a host program or file, and often spreads without any user action, usually exploiting weaknesses (or 'vulnerabilities') in security measures.