Using digital devices that are connected to a network puts them at risk of various forms of attack. Understanding the types of threats that are posed to devices and networks, also helps us to better protect them.
The term used to cover all types of malicious software is Malware (this is simply a shortened combination of the two words).
Malware can be used to describe software that arrives on our devices that is simply annoying, to destructive software that can harm our machine and go on to harm others, sometimes without us knowing.
A virus is a type of malware that reacts in a similar way to a human virus. The purpose of a virus is to cause disruption, and often damage to the device. Once the device has contracted the virus, the software replicates itself and tries to pass that replica onto another device.
In order to infect the device, a virus requires a human to perform an action that allows the virus software to open, such as opening an email attachment, or opening downloaded software that contains the virus.
A worm is similar to a virus, but is a little more concerning as it does not need human interaction to spread. Simply being connected to a device that has a worm allows it to spread.
Trojan malware is the sneakiest of the malware as it hides inside a seemingly harmless piece of software. This is often a free download that acts as a gift. In fact, this is where the name comes from – The Greek Myth of The Trojan Horse had a gift that was actually full of a rather nasty surprise!
Spyware is not harmful to your device in the same way as a virus, but instead put you at risk by detecting your personal data and sending this onto the creator. Examples of spyware are keyloggers, browser hijakers, or corporate spyware.