What are the different types of malware?

January 23, 2024


Welcome to Tech Talks By Noah! In this week's tech talk we will discuss malware, and the different types of malware. Malware is prevalent in today's cyber landscape. Every week there is a new data breach in the news, most likely relying on malware to steal sensitive data from the victim. Malware is a critical part of hacker's toolset to infiltrate organizations.

There are multiple types of malware that attackers use. These types of malware serve different goals and objectives but they are just as destructive. The first type of malware we are going to discuss are rootkits.


Rootkits are a particularly nasty type of malware. Rootkits hide deep in the hard drive and load up before the operating system, preventing anti-virus from detecting the rootkit. Therefore, it is extremely hard to remove rootkits from the computer since they cannot be detected. However, there are such things as rootkit scanners that load before the operating system to detect if there is a rootkit hiding on the hard drive. These rootkit scanners are a complete anti-virus. Furthermore, some Linux based operating systems include security tools to remove rootkits and conduct drive forensics.


Viruses are one of the most commonly known types of malware. Viruses spread by attaching themselves to an executable file (such as a document) and run when the file is executed. By attaching itself to an executable a virus is able to spread quickly and efficiently. However, since a virus relies on an executable, it has less of a chance of being executed than a worm.


A worm is a type of malware that spreads through the the network. They are a self-replicating malware that spread without user intervention (unlike viruses). Worms do not need an executable file to spread, allowing them to spread easier than viruses. Worms spread quickly and often transverse network boundaries to infect areas as large as countries, or in some cases worms can infect the entire internet.

Trojan Horse

Trojan horses are a type of malware that embeds itself within another legitimate program. Which allows the trojan to masquerade itself to trick users into executing the program, thereby infecting their computer with the malware.


In this article, we covered a few types of malware that are commonly seen in the wild. By understanding the different types of malware and their functions, you can be better prepared to prevent malware infections and keep yourself cyber safe!

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