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8 common types of malware & how to prevent them!

By Ria Manzanero


September 3, 2022

So, you want to know about the different types of malware? Firstly, it’s important to note that the days of simply installing a budget anti-virus software onto your devices are LONG GONE!

In the early years of malware (and other cyber-attacks), hackers would create amateur computer viruses, with little understanding of the power they held. Perhaps they wanted to show off their computer skills to their friends, or merely experiment with what was possible with new technology. Today, however, hacking is a full-time job. One that requires skill, patience and intelligence.

Our ever-growing technology landscape has become a playground for fraudsters. The internet has made it easier than ever for criminals to access, steal and sell personal data. Businesses, like yours, are being targeted by cyber-criminals every single day. The worst part? The cyber criminals are WINNING.

Cyber security hacker typing on computer

As a society, we’re guilty of neglecting cyber security. What is cyber security anyway? It’s something IT support providers and technology organisations bang on about, but how important even is it? VERY. Being clued up on cyber security and having robust measures in place is the only thing that could prevent your business from falling victim to cyber-attacks that could cost millions.

Malicious software, or malware, is one of the most popular forms of cyber-crime. It’s created with the motivation to steal your personal or business data and damage your devices beyond repair.

If you’re reading this, whilst thinking – what is malware? What does malware do? How many types of malware are there? What are the various types of malware? How to prevent malware? How to get rid of malware? What’s the best anti-malware software? READ ON!

What is malware?

In layman’s terms, malware is defined as an invasive type of software that infiltrates computers and computer systems in order to steal private information and damage devices beyond repair. Cyber criminals will use malware with the ambition of stealing personal, business or financial information.

They will then use this information to commit identity fraud, hold a business to ransom or even sell this on the dark web to a wider network of cyber criminals.

What are the various types of malware?

So what are the main types of malware? There are 8 common types of malware threats that you should be aware of: adware, malvertising, spyware, viruses, worms, trojans, hybrids and ransomware. Each of these malware types are a threat to your personal or business information, as well as your device health.

To help you understand these types of computer malware, here’s some examples…

1. Adware

This is one of the types of malware you will see regularly day-to-day. Adware comes in the forms of advertisements on websites. They look legitimate and have a click-bate message that will entice you to follow the link from the ad. This will then quickly install a form of malware onto your device that will slow down your device, or make you more vulnerable to other attacks.

How to get rid of or prevent adware?

To prevent adware, your employees should be barred from accessing unsecure websites whilst using work devices. You can do this by implementing DNS filtering across your business, which will block access to harmful websites. Your IT support provider should know about this!

Adware on ladies phone

2. Malvertising

Malvertising is similar to adware, in that it comes in the form of an advert. However, it’s more difficult to identify as this is where cyber criminals will pay for an advert on a genuine website – with the intention of directing you to a harmful website.

How to get rid of or prevent malvertising?

Training, training and MORE TRAINING! Cyber security training for your staff will help them identify these kinds of threats when browsing on websites that aren’t blocked by your DNS filtering. Education is key when it comes to preventing cyber-attacks in your organisation, so don’t neglect cyber security training!

3. Spyware

Let’s look at the types of spyware and malware. One of the most dangerous types of malware is spyware. It has acquired its name as a result of its sneaky approach to stealing personal information, passwords and logins. If you were to click on a link or attachment containing spyware, your device would be monitored by attackers. Anything you type (known as keylogging) can be seen.

How to get rid of or prevent spyware?

This is easier to remove from a device, but harder to come back from. Whilst the right cyber security services partner could remove this type of malware, it might be too late. If attackers have your passwords, then it will take them seconds to do damage. Make sure you’re working with a cyber security provider that can give your business 24-hour surveillance for such attacks.

Spyware on ladies computer

4. Viruses

Let’s look at the types of viruses and malware. Viruses should be commonly recognised among businesses. Malware viruses will attack your device by infecting files. They might delete them, or make them inaccessible. After infiltrating your device, they can flood your network, or even duplicate themselves, which can make using your device impossible.

How to get rid of or prevent malware viruses?

Preventing and cleaning up malware viruses can vary in difficulty, depending on the severity. It might require you to delete or quarantine the affected files. However, if left unnoticed or ignored for long enough, viruses might make a computer completely unusable. This is why having a cyber security partner onboard, protecting your business from such threats is your best bet!

5. Worms

A computer worm is a type of malware that has the power to infect infinite devices, by continually replicating themselves and infiltrating other software’s in order to thrive. They are commonly shared via malicious email links. This is one of the peskiest types of malware, as it requires no human interaction to succeed. It will continue to infect your device until there’s nothing left!

How to get rid of or prevent malware worms?

If your computer has worms, then you’re officially a victim to a silent attacker. It will slowly work through all your files, disrupting your hard drive, overloading your network, stealing data and even giving your attacker access to your device. You will need a pretty strong cyber software in place to flag these types of malware. And having a cyber security partner monitoring any unusual changes would be helpful too!

Computer malware deleting files

6. Trojans

Trojans have swooped in and replaced many types of malware, as they have the ability to infect computers through the form of email attachments. Once you open the attachment, this form of malware will begin to do its damaging work!

How to get rid of or prevent malware trojans?

It’s difficult to get rid of trojans once they infiltrate your device, so your best chance is to try and avoid them completely. As they’re triggered by human error (e.g. clicking on a dodgy email attachment), your business would benefit from a robust cloud email security tool that will flag such threats and an IT support partner who could help you quarantine any affected emails!

7. Hybrids

In short, hybrids are a type of malware that combine worms and trojans. They’re hard to identify and can infiltrate your business in multiple sneaky ways. You want to avoid falling victim to one of these!

How to get rid of or prevent malware hybrids?

Hybrids can affect devices in different ways and as they’re so varied in their approach, they can be difficult (if not impossible) to remove. Businesses, like yours, should be looking to prevent these by working with cyber security experts who can provide a toolset intelligent enough to detect and prevent these from infiltrating devices.

8. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most common forms of malware out there today. It works by encrypting your data and holding it hostage, until you pay a very large fine! The hackers using this method will give you a very short period of time to pay this fine, before deleting valuable personal or business data, or even leaking this information across the web!

How to get rid of or prevent ransomware?

As a form of trojan, ransomware typically uses email attachments and links as a method to infiltrate devices. This attack is very tricky to recover from, without paying the price (literally)! The best preventative approach is to ensure your files are consistently backed up to the cloud and that your staff are given regular cyber security training to avoid falling victim to phishing emails containing ransomware. If working with a good IT support provider, like Virtuoso, this will be included as standard in your cyber security package.

Victim paying ransomware

What’s the best anti-malware software?

Hopefully, after reading this article it won’t shock you to hear that there is no single anti-malware software that can protect your business from the wide and ever-growing range of threats out there.

With so many different types of malware attacks, businesses need more than one tool to do the job! Your business can prevent malware by harnessing email security tools, content and internet filtering tools, end-point detection tools, dark web monitoring tools AND lastly, but most importantly, regular cyber security training for your workforce.

We understand this is an overwhelming amount of information to take in; handling cyber security is a full-time job! Even with an in-house IT department, you can’t guarantee your business will be safe from cyber security threats like malware. Why? Because hackers also work at night (surprise, surprise).

Cyber security experts at Virtuoso helping a customer

Unless you’re going to give your IT department a serious pay rise, you can’t expect them to be monitoring your devices day and night. However, when partnering with an IT support provider, like Virtuoso, you will have access to an entire team of cyber security experts who will work 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to detect and respond to a whole range of cyber-attacks your business is vulnerable to.

If you want to know more about our comprehensive cyber security services London, then why not give us a call? Our team of cyber security experts are available RIGHT NOW to talk you through the threats your business might be facing. We’ll even throw in a free risk assessment so that you come away from that conversation with a clear idea of what your business needs to protect itself from the many types of malware – and other cyber-attacks.

Get in touch now!