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What are the most common forms of malware?

Educative Answers Team


Viruses, as the name suggests, are a form of malware with the ability to duplicate themselves. Viruses attach themselves to programs and spread when those programs are run. A virus can cause general harm to computers, act as adware, or steal information.


Adware is a software that shows ads to users. These ads are often in the form of pop-up windows that come bundled in with supposedly free software.

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Spyware is a computer program that keeps track of a user’s computer usage and sends this collected information to the author. More specifically, spyware can monitor activity, read keystrokes, collect login information, financial data, etc.

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Ransomware essentially locks the computer and makes it unavailable for use unless a certain amount of money is paid as ransom. This lock may be on just a few files or it may make the whole computer unusable.


Rootkits are computer programs that allow the hacker remote access over the infected computer. Once installed, the hacker will have the ability to run programs, steal information, and modify settings on the target computer.

Trojan Horse

A Trojan Horse is a type of malware that is disguised as legitimate software. Users are tricked into downloading and installing this software. Once run, Trojan Horse programs can access user data, add or delete files, or in general, cause harm to the computer.

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A worm is a type of malware that spreads in networks, usually, by exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems. Worm programs, unlike other malware, often do not need any human action to start running. They do not even need to attach themselves to a program to cause harm. Once active, they repeatedly replicate, slow the host system down, and take up bandwidth, among other things.


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