Getting your malware classifications right is crucial since being familiar with the different types of malware and how they spread will help you contain or remove them.

This Article Sheds Light on Different Types of Malware

1. Viruses

Basically, we are used to categorizing all types of malware like viruses. A virus infects other files. Therefore by removing an infected file from the system of the victim, you will have executed the virus as well.

Unlike before when viruses were dominating the cyber world, today, things are different. Viruses are not so common. They constitute about 10% or less of malware.

Viruses are known to infect your files making it hard to clean them. This is because cleaning a virus means that you have to clean up your files as well.

Technology experts have introduced several antivirus programs but even the best antivirus struggle to clean up the virus. Such programs eliminate the virus by deleting the entire file. Alternatively, they can put aside the infected file hence fail to remove the virus itself.

2. Worm

The worm self-replicates and can spread devoid of end-user action. The warm causes serious damage. Viruses require end-users to activate them so as to infect the system and other files. But for the worms, they do not need end-user action. They spread involuntary and replicate.

As a result, they are deadly since they destroy devices, networks, and systems. Furthermore, they damage connected infrastructure too.

Worms use other programs and files to spread. For instance, an organization network can be destroyed in minutes the moment of the members opens an email containing warms.

3. Trojan

Trojans are characterized by malicious instructions and they spread through the email or infected websites visited by users. Trojans work upon execution.

For instance, the system user can get a pop up an alert about the system being infected. The alert instructs the user to open a program to clean the system. The user falls into the trap not knowing that it’s the Trojan.

Trojans are quite popular and they spread through trickery. They can never affect your system without you falling into their trap but if you follow the malicious instructions you will execute them. By so doing, you will have disabled the functionality of your security software.

4. Ransomware

For everything to get back to normal, ransomware requires a ransom hence the name ransomware. This one spreads faster and causes great damage across countries, networks, and organizations.

What they do is that they encrypt files in system or network making it impossible to access them. As a result, you will encounter can`t open error anytime you attempt to open the infected files.

However, you will get an alert asking you to pay a ransom to decrypt the files. If you fail to pay the stated ransom, your encrypted files will be completely destroyed. This is why ransomware is considered as one of the most frustrating types of malware.

Wide categories of ransomware are usually Trojans and they spread via social engineering. Unfortunately, there are several cases where the hackers refuse to decrypt the files even after one pays the ransom. Therefore, you should be cautious to avoid making more losses.

5. Adware

Adware malware works by luring users to open a malicious advertisement. They are ads that can infect your device if you adhere to them. They will redirect you to other look-alike web pages when browsing.

Sometimes you may be lured to look at promotional products or something. Before you know it, your device will be infected. But this one isn`t as dangerous since it can be removed easily. Focus on finding the malicious executable then do away with it.

6. Spyware

Spyware is exactly what it suggests ‘spying’. It’s a type of malware where hackers can spy on your system. As a result, the hackers will have access to your login credentials and personal information plus intellectual property.

Spyware can be used by managers or personnel who want to keep an eye on computer activities taking place within the industry. For instance, school principals can use them to control unacceptable computer activities among the students.

7. File-Less Malware

Conventional malware spread through infected files and systems but this is unlike file-less malware. This one spreads without using the system and files directly. This malware exploits and travels solely in memory.

Besides, they spread through ‘non-file’ OS objects such as registry keys, APIs among others. File-less malware attacks are activated by exploiting a legitimate program in your system.

Alternatively, it can exploit legitimate tools such as Microsoft`s PowerShell. As a result, File-less malware is quite dangerous in that they are almost unstoppable due to their ability to manipulate existing legitimate programs.

Hybrid Attack

This is another very devastating type of malware. This one is a combination of traditional malware. For instance, part of it is a virus, the other part is a worm, and the Trojan part too.

Therefore, in the initial state, it travels like the worm. Additionally, there are the bots too that can be used by hackers to access multiple computers. Hackers use such systems to initiate other attacks.

How to Prevent Malware

Malware attacks are not only frustrating but they can damage your vital files and costly devices. To avoid that, here are tips to combat malware attacks;

  • Make sure you regularly update your plugins, browsers, and OS
  • Use vital security tools depending on your needs
  • Regularly update your software
  • Be on the lookout for social engineering attacks and avoid luring ads and emails from unknown sources.
  • Do not at any time download attachments or open links whose source is unknown
  • Use strong passwords and be sure to change them often
  • Use strong antivirus and firewall
  • Stay away from un-encrypted public networks
  • Browse safely


Finally, the above are types of malware that can attack your files or system. You can avoid most of them if you watch out and use basic protective gear such as antivirus. Also, you should not just any ad you come across.