A Look at the Different Types of Malware

We all understand that ‘malware’ isn’t a positive thing – it generally indicates a type of programme that will do damage to your computer system for someone else’s profit. But outside of the fact that malware = bad, what do we really know about it? There are lots of different types of malware and we’ve taken a look at some of the most common ones below:

1. The Virus – this is probably the most widely discussed type of malware and has certainly made its fair share of headlines. A virus ‘infects’ a computer, as a medical virus would infect the human body, cutting off control of some or all of its functions from its owner. Depending on the virus, it may destroy data and systems, retrieve information such as passwords and bank details and send it on to another computer, or use a computer to relay onward spam or pornography.

2. The Worm – this is a type of virus – or the delivery vehicle for a virus – that gets its name from the fact that it can replicate itself across a network. Email is usually used to deliver a worm, which can then use an address book of contacts to deliver itself on to a whole new bunch of recipients in an email that looks as if it had been sent by the user.

3. The Trojan Horse – this rather scary sounding piece of malware is just as brutal as its Greek legend-originating name, as it can do some serious damage. A Trojan Horse will appear to be a legitimate program, a freebie or a gift, but can infect a computer, deleting data, crashing the computer, downloading or uploading files, logging keystrokes, or even giving access to someone else to control the computer remotely.

4. Spyware – these suspicious sounding programmes are monitors that are collecting information about the way consumers behave online in order to send this information back to companies who can target us with advertising. Whilst spyware generally won’t steal passwords etc, the downloaded variety can slow a computer down so much that it dies.

5. Phishing – whilst phishing attacks are rarely successful, when they are they can be worth millions of pounds. Emails, websites and web links are used to extract personal information from computer users, which can then be exploited for financial gain. The most obvious recent examples of phishing have been emails designed to look exactly like a message from a bank that contain a link to the ‘bank website,’ where the user inputs all their banking information for the phisher to use to steal from them.

If you need any more information on the different types of malware, or you’re looking for some comprehensive security solutions then ITC are a network and security integrator providing businesses with assured IT. We design, build, optimise and manage your Network & Security infrastructures, enhancing network performance, safeguarding information and simplifying management.