Infected network with different forms of malware
Cybercriminals use different types of malware to attack networks. The five most typical types are viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware.
- Computer viruses were originally spread through the sharing of infected floppy disks. As technology evolved, so too did the distribution method. Today, viruses are commonly spread through file sharing, web downloads, and email attachments.
- Computer worms have existed since the late 1980s but were not prevalent until networking infrastructures within organizations became common. Unlike computer viruses, worms can crawl through networks without any human interaction.
- Trojans are designed specifically to extract sensitive data from the network. Many types of Trojans will take control of the infected system, opening up a back door for an attacker to access later. Trojans are often used in the creation of botnets.
- Spyware is not typically malicious in nature, but it is a major nuisance because it often infects web browsers, making them nearly inoperable. At times, spyware has been disguised as a legitimate application, providing the user with some benefit while secretly recording behavior and usage patterns.
- Adware, as the name implies, is often used to spread advertisements that provide some type of financial benefit to the attacker. After becoming infected by adware, the victim becomes bombarded by pop-ups, toolbars and other types of advertisements when attempting to access the internet.
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