Glossary of Malware Terms

Adware short for advertising-supported software. Adware is a program or software that displays ads on your computer, redirects your search requests to advertising websites by hijacking your browser, changes your web browsers homepage and collects personal data on you for marketing purposes. Learn more about Adware.

Bot – a self-propagating program designed to infect a user and connect back to command server(s) that act as a command and control center for an entire network of infected users or a "botnet". With a botnet, attackers can launch broad-based network attacks on servers and other entities. A machine infected with a bot is often refered to as a "zombie".

Browser (Web) Hijacker malicious programs that change a web browser's settings and/or homepage to inject unwanted advertising into the user's web browser. Learn more about Hijackers.

Cryptominers software or programs used maliciously without the users awareness to hijack idle processing power of a device to mine cryptocurrency. Learn more about Cryptominers.

Keylogger a type of surveillance software or hardware used to monitor and record each keystroke typed on a specific computer's keyboard in order to collect personal information. Learn more about Keyloggers.

Malware a term used the describe malicious programs and software that are not necessarily viruses but pose a threat to your system. Learn more about Malware.

PUP PUP is short for Potentially Unwanted Program. These programs are typically not malicious themselves, though they can often come bundled with other adware programs. YouTube downloaders, certain weather apps, news notification apps, and couponing apps can all be considered PUPs. Learn more about PUPs.

Ransomware a type of program that encrypts a user's data and threatens to delete, publish, or block access to said data unless a ransom is paid to the attacker to decrypt the data. Learn more about Ransomware.

Rootkit a hidden malicious program designed to provide continued privileged access to a computer while actively hiding its presence deep within a system. Rootkits may be used to hide files, folders, malicious processes and registry keys from detection. Learn more about Rootkits.

Spam unwanted, unsolicited messages (e.g., emails, Internet website and forum posts, SMS/MMS texts) sent to numerous recipients or posted so that they may be viewed by a large audience. Learn more about Spam.

Spyware a program or software that uses the network capabilities for collecting sensitive personal information about the user without their awareness. Learn more about Spyware.

Trojan a software program that installs onto a user's machine without consent of the client, often disguising itself as legitimate software. Unlike a virus, a trojan cannot copy itself nor infect files. Trojans are used by cybercriminals to gain backdoors to a user's machine to steal personal data, or load malicious software such as ransomware through a backdoor. Learn more about Trojans.

Worm a standalone program that spreads itself across a network. To spread, worms typically exploit a vulnerability on a computer system. Learn more about Worms.

Return to the Malware Research page.