Glossary

Malware

Malware is a type of malicious software that criminals use to gain access to computer systems, applications, and data. Malware comes in many varieties but is mainly designed to steal information and extort businesses for financial gain.

Terms related to Malware: Trojan, worm, virus, ransomware, rootkit, cybersecurity, vulnerability, exploit, authentication.

Malware is used by criminals and hackers to gain access to sensitive systems and applications. Unchecked, malware can result in data breaches, exploits, extortion, and other unpleasant outcomes. Malware normally finds its way onto computer systems as the result of exploiting vulnerabilities, targeted attacks, or social engineering.

There are many different types of malware including:

  • Viruses and worms — these are self-replicating, malicious computer programs that install themselves into a computer system to cause general havoc or steal data. Because they spread very quickly, they can be difficult to stop.
  • Trojans — this type of malware often has a hidden “payload” of other malware that is setoff once certain criteria are met.
  • Rootkits — this malware gives criminals access to root or superuser accounts, where they can gain access to, and command over, large parts of the system.
  • Ransomware — this software installs itself and then encrypts computers and files, making them impossible to access. The software then demands a ransom, often payable in Bitcoin, before it will unencrypt and release data.

It is only possible to protect against malware through a complete cybersecurity strategy, access to the right tools, and appropriate employee training. A combination of antivirus, firewalls, monitoring, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, patching, and thorough authentication can all substantially reduce the risk of being the victim of malware.

Malware Resources from Crossmatch