Malware refers to harmful software or programs that are developed and distributedby malicious actors to damage or steal data, manipulate systems, or interfere with access to computers or networks.

Malware types and distribution

Malware enters a computer system in a number of ways, such as through infected email attachments, downloads, websites and USB drives, or through vulnerabilities in software.

The main types of malware include viruses that can attach to other files or programs and replicate themselves. Trojans, for example, disguise themselves as legitimate software or programs. Attackers often use “social engineering” or ruses to get unsuspecting users to voluntarily download and run the Trojan. If an attack is successful, attackers can access infected systems to steal or damage data.

Special case of ransomware

A special and increasingly common type of malware is ransomware. It aims to block access to data or the entire computer. It encrypts files and then demands a ransom in exchange for a decryption key to restore the data or avoid exposure of sensitive data to the public or unauthorized third-parties.