IADT Blogs

Glossary of Computer Malware Terms

July 2, 2012 IADT Chicago, IADT General, Computer Forensics 0 Comments

Computer Forensics MalwareEveryone dreads getting a virus on their computer. Or at least they think they dread getting a virus. In fact, a virus is only one specific type of malware, which is the term for a broad range of malicious computer programs that can infect your computer. This demonstrates how computer terminology can get tricky, and malware jargon is no exception.

That’s why it’s important for you to keep up on malware terms, whether you’re a regular student or studying computer forensics or information technology. Knowing the different types of malware can make you more informed about how to protect yourself from unwanted software. Enhance your malware vocabulary by taking a look at the list below.

Malware—the general term for any malicious, unwanted software program downloaded to your computer that may disrupt your computer’s normal functions and/or give the program’s creator remote access to your data

Spyware—a type of malware designed to stay hidden from a user so that it can steal information from them

Adware—malware that infects your computer with unwanted advertising, including pop-up ads. Some types of adware may conceal more malicious types of spyware as well.

Scareware—a type of malware designed to sell you a product by falsely telling you that your security is out of date, your computer is already infected, and so on. Some scareware implants malware just so it can sell customers a program that promises to “fix” the problem.

Keystroke logging or keylogging—when a hacker uses a malicious program that covertly tracks each keystroke typed by the computer’s owner. Keylogging is an example of spyware that’s typically used to steal user passwords.

Rootkit—software that uses administrative access to a computer to attack its internal data and programs while evading detection by the real administrators

Trojan, or Trojan horse—named for its appearance as a safe or beneficial program that masks concealed malicious operations

Virus—a type of malware attached to a downloadable file that’s defined by its ability to self-replicate, allowing it to infect multiple computers

Worm—a program that replicates throughout a network but does not need the assistance of a transferred file to spread

Want to learn more about malware and its impact on the technology world? Consider pursuing a computer forensics degree program.


What do you think?