Breaking down the jargon: From worms to trojan horses

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In the IT industry we talk about malware, ransomware, spyware and everything in-between – so what do they all actually mean?

The key thing to remember is that malware is a generic term for all malicious software that can damage computer systems. Different types of malware include:

  • Viruses: A certain type of malicious code capable of copying itself, which then typically destroys data or corrupts the device.
  • Spyware: A software that covertly gathers information about the devices it’s running on and transmits it to the cybercriminal, or even takes control of the device without the user’s knowledge
  • Trojan horse: A malicious program that misleads a user into thinking that its functionality is different to its true functionality – often in the form of a seemingly unsuspicious email attachment
  • Ransomware: Malware that can gain access to a victim’s data, either threatening to share it publicly or encrypt it unless a payment is made
  • Worms: Standalone self-replicating malware which, unlike a virus, doesn’t require a host program to exploit security vulnerabilities and spread itself

For expert advice on how to protect yourself from malware, visit ESET’s business page.