What is malware? Definition, types, and detection

Malicious software, or malware, is software that is designed or used to disrupt computer operations, collect sensitive data, or gain access to a private computer system. Code, scripts, active content, and other applications can all be used to spread malware. Malware is a broad phrase that refers to a wide range of malicious, intrusive, or unpleasant software.


Malicious software is commonly transmitted via data traffic, email, or any other method of moving data from one end to the other. Some of them have the ability to remain undetected and be duplicated. Such a program is extremely harmful because it duplicates itself. When the system is rebooted, these duplicates are activated. Some harmful software spreads on its own, while others rely on other software to do so.

Many early infectious programs were built as experiments or jokes, including the first Internet Worm. Malware is now mostly used to steal sensitive personal, financial, or corporate data for the benefit of others. Malware is occasionally used to gather sensitive information from government or business websites or to disrupt their operations in general. Individuals, on the other hand, are frequently targeted by malware in order to obtain personal information such as social security numbers, bank or credit card details, and so on.

Different Types of Malware

Computer Virus: A computer virus is a piece of harmful software that copies itself and attaches itself to other files or applications. Computer viruses spread like biological ones. It is capable of quiet executing at its worst when the host program/file is activated. Viruses can be transmitted as attachments to an e-mail note or in a downloaded file or present on a disk. A computer virus can be thought of as an abbreviation of "Vital Information Resources Under Seize".

Computer Virus. Malware

 All computer viruses are manmade- the most commonly-known form of malware and most severely destructive. Viruses replicate themselves on other drives in order to spread fast to other systems. They can do everything from wiping your computer's data to hijacking it to attack other systems, send spam, or host and share unlawful information. Viruses can also create a backdoor for later use, corrupt files, and even cause equipment damage.

Examples of computer viruses include Memory-Resident Virus, Program File Virus, Boot Sector Virus, Stealth Virus, Macro Virus, Email Virus, etc.

Worm: A computer worm is a type of virus that copies itself rather than altering files. Worms have the problem of spreading and infecting as many systems as possible. They achieve this by duplicating themselves on infected computers, which then spread to other computers in various ways. Worms are frequently overlooked until their uncontrolled replication depletes system resources, slowing or stopping other activities. It sends copies of itself to the other nodes via a network (computers on the network). It may do so without the need for user input. It is not necessary for it to join an existing program.

Trojan Horse: Trojan Horse is a type of malware that does not reproduce or copy itself, but instead damages or compromises the computer's security. Trojan Horses must be delivered by someone or carried by another program, and they can take the form of a humorous program or piece of software. It appears to serve a beneficial and desirable purpose, i.e. it appears legitimate. When it has gained trust, it surreptitiously executes nasty and unlawful operations. Hackers make use of Trojan horses to steal users' password information, destroy data or programs on the hard disk. It is hard to detect. Examples of Trojan Horses include Remote Access Trojans (RATS), Backdoor Trojans (backdoors), IRC Trojans (IRCbots), Keylogging Trojans, etc.

Trojan Horse Virus

Logic Bomb: A logic bomb is a piece of computer code that, when activated by a specified event, performs a harmful activity such as wiping a hard drive or destroying specific files. It is hidden within the existing software code of a computer and remains inactive until the event occurs. The payload of existing software where it devastating to the company under attack. In the IT field, it's a common tactic used by enraged personnel. It's known for being linked to the "disgruntled employee syndrome." A logic bomb isn't very dangerous unless it's used to target a specific computer or network, as well as IT personnel. They are usually the ones who have access to them and the know-how to put them into action. Logic bombs are rarely programmed to spread to unidentified targets.

The type of action used in a logic bomb can also be used for non-destructive purposes. It makes restricted, free software trials possible. A piece of code embedded in the software's code allows the free software to disappear or become crippled after a specific length of time, requiring the user to pay to continue using it. However, because this is a non-malicious, user-visible application of the code, it is not commonly referred to as a logic bomb.

Zombies: A zombie is a computer that has been infected by a cracker, a virus, or a Trojan that is linked to a network. It can be utilized for malevolent purposes from afar. A cracker (a malicious computer hacker) stealthily infiltrates an unsuspecting victim's computer and conducts unlawful operations on it. The user is usually unaware that his or her computer has been hijacked. He or she can still use it, albeit it will likely slow down significantly. As his/her computer begins to either send out massive amounts of spam or attack Web pages, he becomes the focal point for any investigations involving his/her computer's suspicious activities. Criminals benefit from this strategy since it allows them to escape discovery while also lowering bandwidth expenses (as the owners of the zombies will bear the cost). Zombies are widely employed in denial-of-service (DDoS), degradation-of-service (DSoS), spamming, and other types of assaults.

Phishing: Phishing is the practice of sending emails that look to come from trustworthy sources but are actually designed to fool the receiver into divulging sensitive information. The majority of phishing attacks begin when the victim receives an email or message from a sender that impersonates a bank or another legitimate corporation or organization in order to deceive the receiver. The email contains links to criminally created websites that look to be authentic and invite the victim to provide personal information.

Phishing, Hacking, Computer Virus

Phishing can take advantage of other means of communication as well including SMS ('smishing'), VolP ('visiting'), or instant messaging on social networks. Cybercriminals often utilize social engineering techniques such as warnings and emergency notifications to entice victims to take action. The goal is to convince consumers to behave without thinking about the consequences first.

Spyware: Spyware is a sort of software that captures personal information from your computer and sends it to someone else without your knowledge or agreement. Spyware is often difficult to detect since it hides from the user. They are spread by email, software, or genuine applications on the internet. They are also known as tracking software, and it is difficult to stop them and recover lost data once they have been installed on the machine. Typically, spyware is installed invisibly on the user's computer. While the name spyware conjures up images of software that secretly observes a user's computer activity, spyware's capabilities go much beyond that. Spyware programs can collect a variety of personal data, such as Internet browsing patterns and visited websites, but they can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing new software and redirecting Web browser activity. Spyware has been known to alter computer settings, resulting in slower connection speeds, different home pages, and/or the loss of Internet access or other application functionality. Spyware has also been linked to the distribution of Trojan viruses.

Adware: Adware (an acronym for Advertising Supported Software) is a type of malware that distributes advertising automatically. Pop-up adverts on websites and advertisements displayed by the software are common forms of adware. Adware is harmless in and of itself; nevertheless, some adware may include spyware such as keyloggers and other privacy-invading software. Adware is frequently packaged with "free" versions of software and programs. Adware, like spyware, is used to capture confidential information; in other words, it is used to spy on and collect data from a victim's computer.

Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of virus that encrypts a computer system and holds it hostage in exchange for a fee. The infection prevents the user from using their computer by encrypting files on the hard drive or locking it down and displays messages urging the user to pay the malware maker to remove the limitations and recover access to their computer.

Ransomware virus

Rootkit: A rookie was originally defined in the context of UNIX-type systems as a set of operating system tools, such as netstat, passwd, and ps, that were modified by an intruder in order to get unrestricted access to the target machine without being discovered by the system administrator. A rootkit is a type of malware that secretly modifies the ordinary functionality of a computer's operating system. The alteration allows the hacker to get complete control of the machine, and the hacker assumes the role of a system administrator on the victim's system.

Botnet: A bot is a tool infected with malicious software that performs actions without the user's knowledge. A botnet is a network of infected devices controlled by an attacker that works together. Botner can be used to conduct phishing campaigns, send out spam, or used to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Botnet Image | What is botnet ?

Spam: Spam is any undesired, uninvited digital communication, most commonly an email, that is delivered in mass to a large number of recipients who did not request it. Spam's difficulties originate from the mix of unsolicited and bulk characteristics; the volume of undesired communications overwhelms messaging systems, drowning out the messages that users do want.

Spam is most commonly associated with email, but it also includes instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social spam, spams mobile apps, television advertising, and file sharing spam.

Spamming is the practice of sending unsolicited emails to large groups of people for the purpose of commercial advertising, non-commercial proselytizing, or any other unlawful purpose (especially the fraudulent purpose of phishing).

Symptoms of Malware attack

Unexpected Crashes: Crashing your system or seeing the terrifying blue screen on a regular basis is a huge sign/symptom that something is seriously wrong. If this is happening right now on your computer, run a virus scan right now.

Slow system: If your system is running slowly despite the fact that you are not running any high-resource programs, it could be because it is infected with malware.

Excessive Hard Drive Activity: If you notice a lot of hard drive activity even while your computer is turned off, this could be a sign of an infection.

Strange Windows: Something is awry if strange windows appear during the starting process, especially those warning you of lost access to various drives on your machine.

Peculiar Messages: When your system is operating, troubling dialogue boxes appear, warning you that various programs or files will not open; this is also a dangerous sign.

Bad Program Activity: When your programs go missing, become damaged, or begin to open without your permission, and/or you receive information that a program is attempting to access the Internet without your permission, you are most likely a victim of the malware.

Random Network Activity: Something might be wrong if your router is consistently blinking, indicating a high degree of network activity when you aren't running any big programs or accessing large amounts of Internet data.

Erratic Email: When you haven't sent any emails but receive reports from your contacts that they are receiving weird emails from you, it's likely that your system has been hacked (or your email password has been stolen).

Blacklisting IP Address: Consider receiving information that your IP address has been backlisted as a clue that your computer has been compromised and is being used as one tentacle in a large-scale spam-sending botnet.

Unexpected Antivirus Disabling: Many malware programs are designed to deactivate the antivirus software that would otherwise remove them, so if your antivirus software stops working, it could be an indication of a far bigger problem.

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