Common Types of Malware to Beware

UPDATED April 12, 2023

If you don’t learn anything else about malware, understand that it’s sneaky and it’s dangerous. Everything in the IT world teaches us to try avoiding its evil wrath at all costs. But, what exactly is it and how do you protect your computer from being harmed?

With malware being such a broad term, it’s helpful to identify some of its different types. After all, you do have to know your opponent before the battle. Let's explore the types of malware out there and how you can best protect yourself from the inevitable threat. 

What is Malware?

Malicious + Software = Malware

Techopedia defines malware as “software designed to cause harm to a computer.” These clever programs sneak past access controls and steal data from the host computer. Unfortunately, the most common way this happens is through unsuspecting employees who are unaware and untrained on the ways attackers will disguise their malware (by the way Centre can help with that through our Employee Awareness Training). 

To give you a little more scope on the prevalence of malware:

  • As of 2023, there are  560,000 new pieces of malware are detected every day,
  • There are more than 1 billion malware programs out there
  • Every minute, four companies fall victim to ransomware attacks
  • Trojans account for 58% of all computer malware (check out a couple examples


Types of Malware

So yeah, it's a rough time to be an IT company. It can and probably is a daunting task for you to prepare under the onslaught of malware surging towards your business literally at this minute. Here's a crash course of the common types of malware you'll likely encounter. 

  • Adware
    Adware (Advertising supported + Software) is seen in pop-up ads and advertisements that are displayed, often promoting free versions of software. Most adware is not dangerous. However, it could contain spyware which is used to track user activity and steal private information.
  • Ransomware 
    Ransomware is a type of malware that holds a user’s computer hostage until a ransom fee is paid. It intrudes a PC and locks the user out of the network system. Ransomware spreads via downloaded file or visiting a hacked website.
  • Spyware
    Spyware is a form of malware that gathers information through the user’s internet connection without their knowledge. This malicious software collects login information, financial data, monitors user activity and more. Often times, it spreads by bundling itself with legitimate software.
  • Bots
    Bot (Internet bot) is a software application that automatically performs task over the internet. Bots are used Websites defend against malicious bots with CAPTCHA that verifies human users.
  • Bugs
    A bug refers to an error in software or hardware that causes a program to malfunction. Minor bugs can affect a program’s behavior that may result in crashing or freezing. More severe bugs can allow attackers to bypass access points and steal important data.
  • Phishing 
    Phishing is the fraudulent act of attempting to scam the user into surrendering private information, like address, phone number, banking information, etc., that could be used for identity theft. Often seen in emails claiming that the user has just won a monetary award.
  • Rootkit
    A rootkit is a type of malicious software that is downloaded each time a system boots up. It is designed to access or take control a computer without being detected. Once installed, a rootkit been can remotely access and steal information.
  • Viruses
    A computer virus is a lot like a human viral condition. It is capable of replicating itself and spreading to other computers. Viruses spread to other networks by attaching themselves to files and programs.
  • Trojan Horse
    A Trojan horse is a type of malware that disguises itself as a normal file or program that tricks users into downloading malware. The most dangerous types of Trojans are the programs that claim to rid your system of viruses but end up introducing your computer to a host of infections and other forms of malware.
  • Worms
    A worm is a type of malware that replicates itself and breaks into a computers to perform malicious acts and potentially shut the system down.


How Do You Know If Your Computer Has Been Infected by Malware? 

Is your computer acting weird? Here’s a few key signs can indicate that your computer may be infected by malware:

  1.      Computer is running slower than usual
  2.      Serves pop-up ads even when a browser is not open
  3.      A security program you never installed issues you a warning

How to Protect Yourself from MAlware 

There is a lot of software out there to protect you from malware, but the primary key to securing your system is you. Educating yourself on the right habits to have while browsing the internet and reading emails is the best protection you can get. Always maintain a healthy amount of skepticism while using your computer, if you  have the slightest doubt or hesitation: don't click on it! 

  • Only open an email attachment if it is something you are expecting and it is from somebody you know. 
  • Don't click on links in emails. Especially if it appears to be from a bank, credit card, or anything confirming billing information.
  • If a website/email claims you have a virus (and they're the only ones who can fix it), ignore it! 
  • Don't download anything from a website with non name or a centralized download site like
  • Avoid anything on a site promising an Adobe Flash Player update, video plug-in for viewing the site's content, video streaming apps, and utility apps. 
  • Stay away from anything on a site offering things like "free" movies, TV shows, music, and the like. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 


Protect Your PC with Centre Technologies

When in doubt, give us a call. With so many different forms of malicious software, being hit may seem inevitable. Don’t sweat it. Centre can handle your entire IT – ensuring high-level protection through ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and updating. Shield your company from invasive malware with Centre Technologies. Contact us today to learn more!

Originally published on November 10, 2015

Be a thought leader and share:

Subscribe to Our Blog

About the Author

Emily Kirk Emily Kirk

Creative content writer and producer for Centre Technologies. I joined Centre after 5 years in Education where I fostered my great love for making learning easier for everyone. While my background may not be in IT, I am driven to engage with others and build lasting relationships on multiple fronts. My greatest passions are helping and showing others that with commitment and a little spark, you can understand foundational concepts and grasp complex ideas no matter their application (because I get to do it every day!). I am a lifelong learner with a genuine zeal to educate, inspire, and motivate all I engage with. I value transparency and community so lean in with me—it’s a good day to start learning something new! Learn more about Emily Kirk »

Follow on LinkedIn »