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6 Common Types of Malware

What is Malware?

A combined word from the word “malicious” and “software”, malware is a collective name for any types of malicious software designed to cause damage or extract sensitive data from any programmable devices, service or network.

What are the common types of malware?


Computer virus is a type of program that is designed to spread from one host to another and they have the ability to replicate itself. It works by attaching itself to a legitimate program, or documents that support macros. Once it has successfully attached to the program, file or document, it will wait till a circumstance where the user runs the program.

Once executed, it will self-replicate and insert its own code onto other programs which means the device is infected.


Computer worm is a self-replicating malware, unlike computer virus, it replicates itself to spread to other computers over network connections. It does not need any human interaction nor does it attach itself to a software program to infect other devices.

In order to start the circulation within the network for the first time, cybercriminals often send phishing emails or messages with malicious links or attachments.

Trojan Horse

Trojan horse is a type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software in order to gain access to users’ systems. This malware can be hidden in files, images, videos therefore it can trick users into downloading it by disguising itself as an official-looking email with an attachment.

Once a user downloads it, the malware that is hidden inside is transferred to the user’s computing device where cybercriminals can now execute any task they want to carry out.


Adware is an advertisement-supported software that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer, or within a web browser. It uses the browser to collect your browsing history so that it can show you advertisements base on your interests.

Common examples of adware are pop-up ads on websites and also in games.


Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on a computer without the end user’s knowledge. Some common ways it can be installed is by downloading software from sources that are not reliable, or opening email attachments from fake or unknown senders.

It steals information from your device and send it to another party or organisations without your consent. They can also monitor your data for commercial purposes.


Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks your from accessing your system or personal files and demands a ransom in order to get the access back. It uses asymmetric encryption that uses a pair of keys to decrypt or encrypt a file. The attacker will first infect your machine by phishing emails or through network and USB drives, then once infected it will encrypt victim’s data and then demand a ransom from you in order to unlock and decrypt the data.

What should you do to protect yourself and your businesses?

  • Educate the end-users what are the threats that they may encounter and what they should do when an attempted attack occurs.

  • Encourage end-users to keep their computer and software up to date as these updates includes fixes that can improve your system security.

  • Make sure you’re on a secured connection.

  • Remember to log out from the website after you’re done with it especially if you’re using a public computer.

  • Use antivirus software as it is able to scan your entire computer for malware. It can also scan a program you just downloaded before launching it.

Here at Ace, we issue Free Trial with Bullguard Internet Security to protect not only your Windows, but also Mac and Android. We also have other Cyber Security solutions which you can view here.

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