Malware definition & meaning
Malware stands for “Malicious Software” is an umbrella term that includes viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Malware is software created by cybercriminals with an aim to steal data and damage, invade, or destroy computers and computer systems. Each year, malware costs billions of dollars to organizations and end-users. The malware can be created to make money off victims, sabotage its ability to work properly, promote an ideology, or just for bragging. Malware is capable of stealing, encrypting, deleting data, hijacking various functions, or spying on computer activity.
Most malware is are looking for various ways to trick internet users to download the software. There is also some malware that looks actively for vulnerabilities in organizations’ networks to be able to infiltrate the system. Cybercriminals also working on custom-built state-sponsored malware that targets a specific facility or infrastructure.
Types of malware
Software that aims to damage a computer is known as malware. There are various types of malware that use different methods and they can cause different problems. Let’s take a closer look at malware types.
Viruses are the oldest and best-known malware type. Viruses are capable of making copies of themselves to spread independently and infiltrate other programs. When they are activated, it makes copies of itself and can interfere with other functions, destroy data, spy. There are some viruses that can even cause damage to computer hardware.
Worms mostly use networks or removable media to be able to access other systems and don’t need another program to be able to do that. They can spread better than viruses and have the capability to reproduce. Worms are mostly used to gain control over a computer secretly but there are also worms that can damage the system.
Trojans disguises themselves as safe applications at first to gain access to a computer. The functions performed by Trojans are mostly hidden from users. Trojans are capable of monitoring data traffic, copy information of files and send them, execute specific tasks, or even install new software.
Adware mainly focuses on inserting advertising into programs. They are mostly included in free software and they can make changes to the browser settings and spams fake website pop-ups to the user.
Spyware aims to uncover data and send it to a third party. Spyware is often used to steal data for commercial purposes and mostly the affected user is completely unaware that their data is being stolen.
Scareware scares the user by showing fake warnings. These warnings mostly claim that the computer is infected with malware and promote software that claims to remove alleged malware.
Ransomware gains more popularity recently and it can cause irreversible damage to big companies. When ransomware gains access to a system, it encrypts the important data, denying users access to it. Then ransomware demands a payment, mostly in cryptocurrencies from the user in order to lift the block.
Backdoor or trapdoor can be considered as a function instead of an independent program. As the name implies, this function leaves a door open for third parties to gain access to the infected computer. This access is mostly exploited for denial-of-service attacks.