The most common types of malware

If you have never delved into the topic of malware before, you might not be aware of the variety of the nasty types of programmes developed by hackers in order to affect your computer in various ways. For many people, who are not well-acquainted with this topic, the term computer virus still sounds familiar. Yet, you should understand that computer viruses are only one of the categories of malware which can attack your device.

Providing you feel the need to extend your knowledge on the topic, you should check this article which will help you to understand the differences between various types of modern malware.

Computer viruses

As has already been mentioned above, almost any computer users has ever heard about viruses. This type of malware has very distinguishable features,

First of all, viruses have a capacity of replicating themselves. Yet, they need other programmes to insert their code into them and be able to spread themselves around the system of your computer. This is the second crucial feature of a computer virus and it actually makes a virus a unique group of malware.

At the same time, just like many other types of malware, viruses are getting into the system with an infected USB drive or an email attachment. The most popular type of activity performed by computer viruses is destroying or stealing data from your system. They have been doing it since 1980 when the first viruses were released into the computer ecosystem.

Today viruses somewhat lost their popularity because of the advent of many other types of malware.

Trojan horses

You will hardly meet an experienced computer users who has never heard about Trojan Horses, however, many people mistake this malware for a type of a virus.

In point of fact, a trojan horse or, as it is also usually referred to, a trojan, is itself a group of malware, rather than a proper name of a particular programme.

Just like the Trojan Horse of ancient Greek, computer trojans are featured by a capacity to disguise themselves pretending to be other computer programmes. You can install such a programme believing it is a completely legitimate tool, however, once it gets to your computer, it starts its malware activity which can be of different types. For example, a trojan horse can infect your computer with ransomware which will be discussed in the following part of the article or delete your files.


Ransomware became particularly popular in 2010 and is still one of the major threats of the cyber world. There is nothing strange about this since ransomware allows hackers to earn real money in an easy way.

The idea of ransomware is pretty simple. The code of this malware can damage the information stored on your computer in such a way that you will not be able to open it. In fact, the ransomware programme will encrypt your data in such a way that you will be able to use it only after inserting a special code. As you can guess, the code can be obtained by paying the hacker who infected your computer. Of course, there is no guarantee you will get the code after paying.


At some point, scareware can be called ransomware since it also aims to make you pay for some solutions, however, it actually doesn’t affect your computer at all. What it really does is scaring you with some information of absolutely different types which usually appears in your web browser pretending to be a virus. You also get an information about a phone number to the service which will help you to get rid of the virus, but you shouldn’t dial it since this will drain your phone account of money.

As a rule, you can just close this information without any unpleasant consequences.


Computer worms are probably most close to viruses since they also have a function of replicating themselves. Yet, worms do not need any additional programmes for getting attached to them. Their nature allows them to wonder over the network spreading to other vulnerable computers. This feature of worms also makes their speed of spreading higher and also allows them to infect the entire business networks.


Although adware itself is not particularly scary, it is definitely extremely annoying. As you can guess, this type of malware help its developers to make money by spawning ads, however, you shouldn’t mistake it for the software supported by advertisements which is particularly popular for mobile apps. Adware is working on a totally different level.

Some of the effects of its activity are websites overloaded by advertisements, an excessive amount of ad popups which might not be even possible to be closed as well as the search engine changed into another one redirecting you to special suites which generate profit for their owners.


Spyware is aiming to collect the information from your system. Although this is done by many trustworthy companies as well, the major difference here is that spyware is doing it without your knowledge and can also go to further levels even by installing a programme for recording all keystrokes (a so-called keylogger).


A rootkit is a special programme allowing its developer to take a control over your machine, however, it first has to be installed by this person directly on the computer.