4 Types of Malware Attacks and What They Do

Did you know? As per a study conducted by Accenture, malware is the most expensive kind of attack on an organization’s IT infrastructure. The cost of these attacks has also gone up by 11% since 2018 and each company incurs a cost of $2.6 million as a direct result of malware attacks. Given the risks attached, it has become increasingly important that organizations understand what Viruses, Trojans, and other malware do and how they can wreak havoc on an organization’s IT infrastructure. Let’s take a look at the different types of malware and what measures you can take to improve your IT security.

What Is Malware?

Malware is a name given to a combination of malicious software variants that are designed to inflict damage to an organization’s systems. They typically do this by gaining unauthorized access to an organization’s network and disrupting operations. Malware attacks can steal sensitive information and slow down the speed of your computer systems as well. There are several different types of malware attacks. These include:

  1. Viruses
  2. Worms
  3. Trojan Horse
  4. Spyware
  5. Rootkit
  6. Ransomware
  7. Bug
  8. Bot
  9. Adware

Let’s take a look at some of the most common malware attacks and what they do:

Computer Virus

A computer virus, one of the common malware attacks, is a malicious code that is attached to a program or a file. It gets activated when an unsuspecting user runs the program and ends up executing the malicious code inside. Computer viruses can also get activated when an automated process executes the program. It can self-replicate as well by attaching to other program or files.

The damage caused by a computer virus can vary between mild to catastrophic. Some viruses will attack the boot sector of your computer system. This is the area that contains the code required for start-up. Such viruses will create problems every time you turn on the system. Other viruses are hidden in games, emails, or attached documents. They can create problems by sending an infected email to people in your contacts list. Viruses can also be used to access sensitive data, display unwanted advertisements, and steal money.


A computer worm is a type of malware attacks that can self-replicate and spread through your organization’s network without requiring human assistance. A worm is different from a virus because it does not require a host computer or an operating system to execute itself. They are transmitted through email attachments, clicking links on unknown websites, and through file-sharing networks. Worms cause damage in much the same way as a virus. They will take advantage of any vulnerability in your IT security and corrupt files and steal information. Worms can also install a back door that allows remote access to the system. Since it can replicate itself, a worm can send out thousands of copies of itself. This can have a devastating effect on your computer network. They will utilize a large amount of your system’s memory and eat up your bandwidth when they do this. As a result, a server, system, or network that has become infected will get overloaded and will stop responding.

Trojan Horse

Named after the Trojan horse in Greek Mythology, this type of malware attacks appears like a legitimate code or software. However, once you download and execute this malicious code, it will take control of your computer system.

A Trojan horse can perform a variety of actions once it is activated. Some of these are harmless such as making changes to your desktop and adding new desktop icons. Others are more dangerous. For instance, if a Trojan ends up destroying the information present on your system, then this can incur a huge loss. Trojans are also capable of creating a back door on your system. This allows remote access and can be used to steal information. Some Trojans also perform DDoS attacks. A DDoS attack will flood a network with traffic and cause it to crash. Unlike a virus or a worm, a Trojan does not self-replicate. It cannot infect other files and programs as well.


Spyware is a form of malicious software that perpetuates malware attacks by infiltrating your system, steal your bandwidth, and access sensitive information. This information is then related to data firms, advertisers, and other external users that may be interested. The program can track and sell your internet history, capture your bank account or credit card information, and even steal your identity. It does this by monitoring all your internet activity and keeping track of information such as your login emails and passwords. Spyware can also install other software on your system and change the settings of your network. It is one of the most common threats faced by organizations and can result in huge losses.

Enterprise Solutions Against Malware Attacks

Whether you are leading a small-to-medium size business or a large enterprise, it is necessary that you protect yourself against malware attacks.  To do so, you must:

  • Stay vigilant and keep your systems updated. You must also be aware of the different types of cybersecurity threats out there.
  • Install firewalls to monitor threats in real-time. You can also set up a private network. This will allow you to have more control.
  • Invest in multiple layers of security that include antivirus software, anti-malware software, and anti-ransomware software.
  • Encrypt your data by encoding it. This will make your data useless to hackers who try to steal it.
  • Develop an IT security policy. This can involve network monitoring, using strong passwords, and making sure all employees stay alert to potential sources of malware.
  • Creating backups to prevent data loss. These should have a separate security system as well.

To Sum It Up

There are different types of malware attacks that can have a catastrophic effect on your IT infrastructure. You must take all the steps necessary to protect your systems and network against them. Make sure you have the latest IT security systems installed. You can also consult an IT service provider regarding this. They can help monitor your network against malware and prevent any cyber-attacks.

If you are looking to improve the security of your work systems, give us a call at Northwest Remote Offices, LLC. We offer the latest solutions for antivirus protection, IPS/IDS for data backup and recovery.

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