What is malware? The definition and the 5 main types

According to definition, malware is an abbreviation of the words “malicious software”, malicious software. This means that the software is designed and created to cause damage to a device or its user. It is a general term used to classify files or software that cause damage once they enter your system. This damage can manifest itself in many ways, often involving stealing data from the user’s computer, encrypting that data or simply deleting it. Malware also has the ability to change functions within the computer or take control over it entirely, as is the case with botnets and rootkits.

Summary: Malware is software designed to cause harm to you or your devices. It includes many types of programs, such as spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses, rootkits, and many more. They can be expanded manually or automatically. They range from being a mere inconvenience, to being incredibly destructive.

What types of malware are there?
How to remove malware?
What is the history of malware?
How does malware work?
What are similar programs?

What types of malware are there?

Depending on the intent of its creator, malware can range from being very sophisticated software, capable of performing numerous functions, to simply being a nuisance. There are many types of malware, the differences of which are based on their elements or mode of operation. Some of these are:

Computer Virus: A computer virus is the classic form of malware. It is a component of code or program that enters your device without you knowing. Once there, it can cause a number of damages, from slowing down your system, disabling specific parts, or taking control altogether. As with biological viruses, it is designed to automatically spread across networks and devices.

Spyware: These are malware designed to collect data from the computer and its users. It does this with infiltration into the user’s computer and monitoring of their activities. It is installed on the user’s computer directly or by exploiting gaps in cybersecurity.

Ransomware: As the name suggests, ransomware is software created for the purpose of hijacking data from the user’s computer. The software is designed to encrypt the sensitive data of the target. Then the creators demand money from the user to decrypt the data.

Informatico Trojan: This type of malware has been created to look like a normal program. So much so that it convinces unconscious users to install it on their computer. Once installed and executed, the Trojan horse can start performing the malicious function for which it was created. Unlike viruses and worms, Trojan horses rarely attempt to reproduce and spread.

Rootkit: This type of malware is created to give cybercriminals administrator-level permissions on the target computer. This access allows them to modify the system of the user’s computer. In addition, it is used to hide the presence of other malware on the computer system.

Backdoor Virus: This type of malware creates a “secret entry” inside the target’s computer. Through this back door, cybercriminals have the ability to access the computer without the user’s knowledge. Backdoors are created by other types of malware, such as worms or Trojan horses. With the use of backdoor, cybercriminals also bypass computer security programs. One type of backdoor virus is the Remote Access Trojan (RAT).

By clicking on the links in the bar to the right of this article, you can read about many more types of malware.

How to remove malware?

The best way to remove malware is with the installation of one of the best antivirus software. These tools scan your system, detect malware, and remove it. All automatic. In addition to this, they prevent the future installation of malware on your device.

Of course, there are some anti-malware tools that you can install for free, but this is not an ultimate solution. Frequently, these focus on removing malware that is already installed on your device, rather than preventing new malware from being installed. Rather than preventing infection, they increase it.

The antivirus software in our comparison not only contains anti-malware, but also a wide spectrum of other elements that keep you protected both on the network, and off it. Some examples are firewalls, spam filters, parental control, secure browser for online payments, password managers, online backup, website advisors and many others.

What is the history of malware?

One of the earliest forms of malware was the Creeper virus. Created by BBN Technologies engineer Robert Thomas in 1971, it was created as an experiment to infect servers of those times with ARPANET. It was not created for malicious purposes, nor to steal or encrypt data. He would just move between the servers and send the message, “I’m Creeper, take me if you can.”

The initial version did not reproduce itself, this element was later added by Ray Tomlinson, who made “The Creeper”, the first worm. Malware began to appear in the technology industry. In the 80s the creation of several worms and viruses that infected personal computers was witnessed. As there was no internet at that time, the infection was mostly transmitted by floppy disks. These viruses were first created for Apple II and Macintosh computers, later for IBM PC and MS-DOS when they became more popular. The Internet led to an even bigger boom in the creation and spread of malware, which could already be found on downloadable web pages and internet files.

How does malware work?

The spread of malware depends largely on the intention of the creator. For many viruses and worms, expansion is carried out with the intention of reaching as many computers as possible. By definition, infection occurs when data is shared. This can happen on the internet with downloaded files, email attachments, malicious links or hidden downloads that are completed without the user’s knowledge.

It also happens when people share files off the network with infected computers or when they share some media files. Personal infections sometimes take place when using a USB port containing malware. It often happens when backdoors or rootkits are installed that allow creators remote access or administrator access to the victim’s computer.

Advances in cybersecurity often go hand in hand with advances in malware. The new strains are programmed with more sophisticated techniques to evade detection by anti-malware programs as well as computer users. These techniques range from simple tactics, such as using network proxies (to hide IPs from creators), to more sophisticated forms of standalone malware. In the second case, the malware avoids detection by hiding inside the RAM system. The malware also exploits vulnerabilities in computer security. They do this by exploiting similarities in operating systems to infect multiple systems. In other words, they exploit the flaws of the security software.

What are similar programs?

There are other forms of software that sometimes act similarly to malware, but are not strictly considered malware. The difference lies in the fact that although they sometimes cause damage to other users’ computers, they were not created with evil intentions.

One such program is adware. The biggest impact they have is the endless and annoying ads they produce. This can adversely affect the performance of the computer. However, adware is known to be accompanied by real malware. There are also situations where normal software causes unintentional damage to another user’s computer due to malfunction. This happens because of errors in your code, this type of software is called bugs (error).