6 Most Common Types of Malware

Malware is a common phrase that you will often hear when discussing cybersecurity. But it is an all-encompassing term that covers a variety of malicious software and any type of intrusive software that is designed by cybercriminals to steal data and damage or destroy computer systems. There are many types of malware, some of which are better known than others, for example; viruses are a form of malware.

Cybercriminals use malware to infiltrate computer systems and networks without being detected. Commonly known types of malware include Trojan horses, spyware, worms and ransomware. All of these are extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage to computer systems if undetected. Cybersecurity companies are always looking out for malware infiltration as it is essential to find the codes and stop them before they cause large amounts of damage.

How do the different types of malware differ from each other?

It is possible to tell the difference between malware as they all function differently once in a system. To help you better understand, below is a list of several types of malicious software and summaries of how they work:


Viruses self-replicate by changing other computer codes and inserting their own. Once in a system, a virus will duplicate itself over and over until it completely takes over the computer system or network. They work by encrypting, corrupting or deleting your files and most commonly come attached to phishing emails.


Adware will cause endless software pop-ups to appear on your screen and make it difficult to access your computer. This will often happen whilst you’re in a web browser and ads will pop up without your control. Its main aim is to confuse users and make them believe it is a legitimate program so they can download or click it. It will then corrupt your server and disable you from getting online. Adware is often more commonly known as spam.


Spyware is used to infiltrate operating systems so criminals can monitor user activity and details. It is often used to steal credentials and identities which in turn causes a major data breach. Often employed at the start of a breach, spyware is the first installed to explore systems and find ways to increase access. A common way of access is when users agree to terms and conditions unknowingly created by a cyber-criminal.


Ransomware uses crypto virology to lock users out of their systems and files to hold them ransom. If the ransom isn’t paid by the deadline, the cyber criminals threaten to either delete the data or share the files to the public or the dark web. Ransomware often appears in the form of a download and ransom prices can vary from a couple of hundred to hundreds of thousands. 


Similar to computer viruses, worms can replicate themselves however they do not need human interaction to duplicate and they often attack a computer’s hard drive or memory. Technology such as email filtering and firewalls can help with worm detection as they are often found in vulnerable codes.


Named after the Greek infiltration tactic that led to the downfall of the city of Troy, Trojan programs pretend to be normal but in fact, are harmful and malicious. Users are tricked into downloading or opening files that look normal, but once opened, it gives cybercriminals access to disrupt, steal, and infect your computer system and networks. Trojans commonly enter your systems through normal links or social media ads.

These 6 types of malware are only a handful of a plethora of methods that cybercriminals implement to gain access to your systems and networks to disrupt, steal and delete your data and files. All the above have malicious intent so businesses must implement secure systems to detect and protect themselves against them.

The best way to do this is to work with a reliable and experienced cybersecurity company that can advise on how to protect your business against such attacks. At OfficeAnyplace, we specialise in using a Zero Trust security approach to protect our clients and their businesses. 

To build your line of defence and ensure that your systems will detect any malware threats,  contact us today. Our experienced team of experts will support you and ensure that your networks and systems are protected from malicious attacks.

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