Spyware As the name suggests – Spyware works by SPYING on YOU the user, WITHOUT you even KNOWING!  It is capable of monitoring activity and harvesting data that monitors for website login details, email and account information and also financial information like your credit cards and account numbers.  Spyware, most commonly bundles itself with Free Software versions but can spread by exploiting Software vulnerabilities.

Bugs are an exploitable flaw in the context of Software.  Unfortunately these ‘flaws’ are the result of human error and typically exist in the compilation of a program or in the source code itself.  Minor Bugs may only slightly affect a program’s behaviour whereas the more significant Bugs can cause your computer to freeze or crash.  The most severe type is the Security Bug which can allow attackers to override access privileges, bypass User authentication or steal data.

Adware is exactly that – Advertising Software!  This type of malware delivers advertisements automatically.  We’ve seen them before – pop-up ads on websites is one of the most common types of malware.  Often ‘free’ versions of software come bundled with adware – If you do not pay for a product, you are the product.   Adware is very popular on social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter etc.  It serves a revenue tool for the platform.  Adware can come bundled with spyware that is able to track User activity and potentially steal information.  These bundles are considerably more dangerous than adware on its own.

Software programs such as Bots are created to automatically perform specific operations.  Some Bots are created for harmless purposes such as Video gaming, online contests and Internet Auctions.  However, we now see Bots being used maliciously.  When Bots are collectively used in a group, called a Botnet they can be used in Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks or for distributing malware disguised as popular search items on download sites.  Websites are now guarding against bots with CAPTCHA tests that verify Users as human.  For example:  (“I am not a robot”).

Virus.  This particular form of malware has the ability to copy itself automatically and spread to other computers.  The virus spread by attaching itself to various programs and executes a code when a User runs an infected program.  Viruses can be used to steal information, steal money and create Botnets.

The biggest difference between a Worm and a virus, is that a Worm can infect and spread through operating system vulnerabilities on its own.  They overload web servers and consume bandwidth by harming their hosts Networks. Other than spreading itself, a worm can also contain payloads that can damage the host computer by stealing data or creating Botnets.

Trojan or Trojan Horse disguises itself as a normal file or program and tricks the Users into letting it through – either by downloading or installing.  Once in the system an attacker can control the machine remotely and install additional malware or carry out further malicious tasks.

Malicious software such as Rootkit is designed to access or control a computer remotely – without being detected by Users or Security programs.  Once installed the malicious party behind the Rootkit access and steal information, and can alter software (including Security Software).  It is difficult for Security products to find Rootkit as it capable of continually hiding its presence.  Businesses and end Users can protect themselves by avoiding suspicious downloads, regularly patching vulnerabilities and keeping virus definitions updated.