Cyber Security: What are the Different Types of Malware?

Malware, also known as malicious software, is a type of dangerous software that is used to access and infect a computer network, without being detected.

When you think about cyber security risks, there are common words that come to mind:

  • Virus
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Worms
  • Trojan Horses

There are many more, but these are all types of malware, and all of them can seriously damage your computer.

Cyber security providers will always be vigilant when it comes to finding these threats, and attempt to put a stop to them before they can cause any damage to your device.

Any form of malware is a large threat, and once they infiltrate your device, they are extremely dangerous.

Different types will function in different ways, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between them.


The word ‘Virus’ is probably the most known and commonly used when it comes to malware.

A virus is a kind of software, and once it is activated it will replicate itself repeatedly.

Once activated, it will corrupt or even delete data from your device.

A virus can come from a range of places, but most commonly it’s found in emails, download links online, and hardware such as hard drives.


As the name suggests, ransomware is malware that demands a ransom payment from the infected device’s owner.

It is software from crypto-virology, and it will lock you out of your device files.

It will then inform you that you are blocked from accessing your files until you pay a ransom, often giving a time limit with the threat of deletion if not paid within the timeframe.

Similar to viruses, they will most commonly be carried in through a download or attachment in an email, or online.


Spyware is a much sneakier type of malware, unlike the previous examples, it doesn’t want to make itself known.

It is software that will cling to your computer’s operating system and collect information and data from your device.

The information will be used or stored by the cybercriminal, and they can then use it for personal gain.

Spyware can come in many ways, including through terms and conditions that you agree to without reading.

In film and television, a device with a virus will typically be shown as a laptop with advertisement pop-ups all over the screen, typically advertising inappropriate things.

This is adware, it’s software that will show advertisements on your device screen as a pop-up.

It can also corrupt your server and stop your ability to go online.

Adware can be found online; it can show up through potentially unwanted programs.

If your device has vulnerabilities, worms will prey on that.

It’s a type of software that relies on vulnerabilities on your computer, and it spreads like a virus, by replicating.

As worms replicate, it will reach a point where your network is damaged, and your bandwidth consumed.

Worms are found in vulnerable codes and can ruin your systems.


Have you ever heard the story of the ‘Trojan Horse’?

Like the story, trojan malware is malicious software, disguised as legitimate.

Once the software is activated, it will damage your device in any way.

This could disrupt functions, steal data, infect with a virus, or anything the creator wants.

Trojans are especially dangerous because they look legitimate and real, so they can be found online, on social media, or on any links.

These descriptions are only summarising some of the key components of what these malicious software programs can do to your device, but they all carry an equal amount of concern if your computer gets infected.

There are also more types of malware out there that aren’t mentioned, you should always stay vigilant and never click on links or download software that you aren’t 100% sure you can trust.

Malware was created and used as light-hearted pranks and experiments, but now it is incredibly destructive.

Cyber security providers use programs such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions to combat these threats.

If you are worried about your devices being infected by malware, you should contact a cyber security company immediately.

Malware is also not the only form of dangerous online attack you may come across, there are also things like spoofing, phishing, and other security hackers that can penetrate your device’s basic line of defence.

If you need to protect your business’s IT and detect these threats before they become a problem, contact our team and see how we can help you.

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