What Is Malware: Types, Symptoms, & Countermeasures

Learn all about the malware, different types of malware, and their countermeasures

If you are reading this article, that concludes that you are willing to know more about what is Malware and how to protect against these types of attacks.

If so, then you have landed in the right place. Understanding the different components of Malware is essential for all who want to protect their computer and personal data from malicious attacks.

Different types of Malware are there based on their method of attack, so knowing each type of Malware will help you protect yourself if you get attacked. 

In this article, I covered some of the most common and popular Malware, such as viruses, trojans, worms, ransomware, and spyware, which you should know about.

In this post, I will not only cover each type of Malware but also give you brief information about different types of Malware and its countermeasures.

Moreover, I will also explain the comment indications, which will help you to find out if any of your systems got attacked by Malware. 

So without any further delay, let’s start…


Table of Contents

What is Malware

Malware, short for “Malicious software,” is a type of software designed to harm or infiltrate a computer system or network. It’s a broad term that includes viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware, and other types of harmful software. 

Importance of understanding different components of malware

Malware can be spread through infected email attachments, downloads from the internet, or by visiting a malicious website.

Once installed on a system or device, Malware can cause a wide range of problems, including slow system performance, stealing sensitive data, or even taking control of the system. 

That’s why it is important to have reliable anti-malware software installed on your computer or device to practice safe browsing habits to avoid becoming a victim of malware attacks.

I hope you have a clear idea about what Malware is and what kind of problems it can accomplish if your device or system are got affected by this Malware.

Moving further, let me help you explain why it is crucial to understand the different components of Malware so that you can take action if you or your organization face any malware attack.

Better protection: By understanding the different malware components, like viruses or worms, you can better protect your computer systems and network from attacks. Moreover, it can help you identify potential vulnerabilities and take necessary measures to prevent them.

Early detection: Malware attacks can often go undetected for long periods, causing significant damage. Understanding the different malware components can help you detect an attack early and minimize the damage.

Improved incident response: In the event of a malware attack, understanding the different components can help you respond more effectively. You can isolate the affected systems, contain the damage, and take steps to prevent the attack from spreading further.

Regulatory compliance: Many organizations are required by law or regulation to implement specific security measures. Understanding different components of Malware is essential to comply with these regulations and protect sensitive data.

Protecting personal and sensitive information: Understanding different components of Malware can help individuals and businesses better protect their personal and sensitive information. By identifying the various types of Malware and their functions, individuals can take preventative measures to safeguard their data and prevent it from being compromised.

Preventing financial loss: Malware attacks can also result in significant financial losses for individuals and businesses. So it’s very crucial to understand the different components of Malware that can help individuals and businesses implement security measures to prevent these attacks and avoid financial loss.

A brief overview of different components of malware

Here I have listed some of the most important malware attackers commonly use that you must be aware of.  In this section, I will help you with a brief overview of the types of malware you should know.

Moreover, I will also discuss the causes and countermeasures of the types of malware.

1. Virus

A virus is a type of malicious software that can self-replicate and infect other programs or files on your system or device. So in case if your device is infected with a virus, it will harm your device by corrupting data, stealing personal information, or damaging system files.

2. Trojan

A Trojan is also a type of malware that is disguised as legitimate software to trick users into installing it. Once installed, a Trojan can perform malicious activities such as stealing data, spying on user activity, or opening a backdoor for remote access.

3. Worm

Work is a malicious program that independently replicates, executes, and spreads across network connections. Commonly attackers use the worm to install backdoors in infected devices.

Some commonly used worm makers are Batch Worm Generator and C++ Worm Generator.

4. Spyware

As the name suggests, spyware is a type of malware attackers use to monitor user activities and secretly send data to third parties. Moreover, in most cases, attackers use malware to steal the data like bank passwords and card details.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most famous and dangerous malware. The attackers make the malware attack to restrict access to the computer system’s files and folders. And once they control it entirely, the attackers will demand some ransom amount to remove the restriction.

6. Rootkit

Rootkits are software programs designed to conceal themselves and the malicious activities of the attacker, giving them complete control over the host or server both in the present and the future. 

In other words, rootkits are designed to operate covertly, making it difficult for security software to detect their presence. Once a rootkit is installed, attackers can control the system completely and carry out various malicious activities without detection. 

This makes rootkits a severe threat to system security and highlights the need for effective detection and removal tools.

Common Indications of Malware Attack

Here are some of the common ways, or indications, to find out if your system is attacked by any malware by the attackers. 

Slow computer performance: One of the most common indications when any system is affected by a malware attack is slow system performance. You might observe your computer is taking longer than usual to perform tasks or load programs. It could be a sign that malware is consuming your system’s resources.

High CPU and Storage uses: Monitoring the services of your program or files running in the background is always the best option for countermeasures against any malware attack. So whenever you find high uses of your CPU or Storage without running any heavy programs, are also might indicate that your system has a malware attack. 

Default settings changes: Some of time, you might observe that all of a sudden, the default Background or wallpaper settings change automatically. So if you find such symptoms, immediately check for the other indications to confirm it is a malware attack or another issue.

Antivirus alerts: One of the most common indications is to find does your system has a malware attack to check for the antivirus status. If your Antivirus programs are automatically disabled, it’s time to scan your device.

Pop-up ads or unwanted browser toolbars: Malware often comes bundled with adware, which can cause pop-up ads to appear on your screen or install unwanted toolbars in your web browser. So next time you get a pop-up with bizarre messages suddenly appearing on your device, go for a system check.

Missing or modified files: If you notice missing or modified files on your computer, it could be a sign that malware is deleting or changing files on your system.

How to Protect Against Malware

Now that you have a clear idea about the different components of malware, it’s time to know the countermeasures of this malware so that you can protect your device or network without compromising any security breaches. 

So here are some of the best countermeasures that you can practice to tackle the above malware attacks.

Use Anti-malware software: One of the most effective ways to protect your system from malware is to use good anti-malware software. So, if you are a business owner, you can go with some of the firewalls available in the market. On the other side, if you are a day-to-day user, then anti-viruses like Norton, McAfee, or Kaspersky are the perfect choice to go with.

A regular check of the task manager report: The other way to protect against these malware attacks is to check your task manager regularly. As you all know, a task manager is a place that helps you to show all services currently running on your system. Moreover, you can also check your RAM, CPU, and Storage uses, which allows you to analyze any unnecessary. 

Adjust browser security settings: Adjusting browser security settings is another way to protect against malware attacks which can help protect your computer and personal information from cyber threats. One of the first steps is ensuring your browser is up-to-date with the latest security patches. Additionally, you can adjust settings such as privacy preferences, disable third-party cookies, and turn on phishing and malware protection. 

It is also recommended to use secure browsing protocols such as HTTPS and to limit the amount of personal information you share online. Regularly checking and adjusting your browser security settings can help prevent cyber-attacks and safeguard your online activity.

Close unused ports: If you are a working professional or a small business owner who is only taking care of the security of your own business, then closing or filtering open ports which are not in use is the best way to prevent unwanted malware attacks from the attackers. Ports like 21 (FTP) or 23 (Telnet) are more vulnerable when attackers enter the network by using these ports. 

So, if you want to secure your network and these ports are not in use, the best option is to close them before attackers find them as the entry passes to your network.

Regular Data Backup: Taking Data backup always gives you an extra layer of protection, no matter which niches your business is in. Sometimes it might happen when some malware attack hits you after taking all precautions, and to tackle these situations, data backup will undoubtedly play a crucial role. 

Avoid Downloading Untrusted Files: As a cyber security professional, one typical pattern I observed is that most of our clients accept that post-downloading untrusted software follows miscellaneous activity on their devices. Just imagine why any website will give you free software with a paid version.  

So to protect your system from any malware, it’s always recommended not to download any files or software from any untrusted sites.

Avoid opening attachments: As per the data shared by, almost 91% of cyber attacks against large corporations are because of Phishing emails. So you mustn’t open or download any attachments whenever you get an email from an unauthorized sender.

Keeping software up-to-date: It is always recommended to update your applications or devices when a new update comes. Sometimes as a user, we think about why we need to update software, but the reality is that engineers create the update only to fix the vulnerability they found with the previous version.

If I have to explain this with an example, the best example is when Microsoft launched Windows 7 that there was a vulnerability that OS was like hackers could easily take remote access to the system. So always keep updating your software and devices when a new update comes in.


To conclude, here is a quick recap of what we have learned in this article: We discuss what malware is and its different components. Moreover, we discuss each type of malware and their counterparts in detail, the common Indications of the malware, and how you can find it.

So that’s all in this article. I hope you enjoy your learning with cyber security masters. If you like the article, share it with your friends and family members unaware of these attacks. If you want to build your cyber security career, we recommend joining our online training program

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