What is Malware?

Malware, short for "malicious software," is an umbrella term for any software with bad-natured intent. Malware usually is written to cause damage to your PC, network, server, and you yourself – typically financially. We can generally classify types of malware based on how they act, the way they infect a system, and the damage they do to your computer or private information.


See below for links and information about other types of malware:

  • Trojan: Named for the infamous Trojan Horse, this program installs onto your machine without consent, often disguising itself as legitimate software. Typically, it is used to create a backdoor into a system.
  • Virus: A program that, once executed, begins to replicate itself and infect once-clean files until your system is damaged or corrupted.
  • Worm: A standalone program that spreads itself across a network. Worms typically exploit vulnerabilities on a computer's operating system or computer software in order to spread themselves.
  • Spyware: Software created to observe and record computer use, typically to steal personal information such as financial information, passwords, etc.
  • Bot: A program that infects your PC and turns it into a "zombie." Once enough "zombies" are created, a "botnet" is born, which is used by a hacker for malicious purposes.
  • Ransomware: A program that locks your valuable files and threatens to delete them or keep them encrypted unless you pay a ransom.
  • Adware: Software with over-the-top advertising, loaded with pop-ups and typically hard to remove through normal methods.
  • Cryptominer: Software or programs used maliciously without your awareness to hijack idle processing power of a device to mine cryptocurrency.

Return to the Malware Glossary page.