Malware’s been getting a lot of press recently. From the New York Times to the Bangladesh Central Bank, many high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches have been caused by malware.

The amount of malware programs in the world has increased from 187 million in 2013 to over 500 million in 2016, according to IT security experts AVTest

But what exactly is malware and how can you avoid it?

Malware is an abbreviation of malicious software. Essentially malware is any piece of software that is designed to give access to or damage a computer without the owner’s consent or knowledge.

Malware comes in many different forms. Here’s a look at some of the more common types

Types Of Malware:


Adware delivers unwanted adverts on a user’s computer. These ads usually come in the form of pop-ups or sometimes windows which can’t be closed.


Bots are programs that automatically perform set tasks. Malicious bots can be used for attacks on websites, as to spam advertising on websites and to distribute other malware.


Ransomware holds a user’s computer captive and asks for a ransom to be paid. The software limits access by encrypting files or locking the system and will only free up access when the ransom is paid.


A rootkit is a type of malware that gives a hacker remote access or control of another computer without being detected. Once installed hackers can steal information, change software configurations and install further malware.


As the name suggests, spyware spies on a computer’s activity without the user’s knowledge. Spyware can collect keystrokes to gain access to accounts by uncovering your passwords and harvesting other sensitive data.

Trojan Horse

Commonly referred to as a trojan, this type of malware is disguised as a harmless file or program. Once installed the hacker gains access to the infected computer, can steal data, install more malware and modify settings.


A virus is a type of malware that is able to copy itself and spread to other computers. Viruses can be spread via software, documents or script files and can be used to steal information and cause harm to computers and networks.

How To Protect Against It

As you can see there are a disturbing amount of different types of malware that operate in detrimental ways – and the ones mentioned above are just the more common ones!

The first line of defense is to make sure you have good security and firewall software installed.

In addition, make sure that you have the latest updates for all of your applications and the security software installed.

Unfortunately though, that might not be enough. A good second line of defense is to use employee monitoring software.

Solutions such as KnowIT can be installed remotely onto all of your company devices. KnowIT will monitor exactly what sites and apps are being used on your computers. Alerts can also be set up to notify managers when sensitive files are accessed or if websites known to carry malware are accessed (think illegal file sharing sites and porn sites).

Over To You

Think we’ve missed an important type of Malware to watch out for? Let us know in the comments section below!