Malware: What is it, and how does it work?

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Malware is a catch-all term for any software that is meaningfully designed to cause extensive damage to a network, server, single computer or any mobile device or to gain unauthorized access to a network. It comes in many forms, such as viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, rogue software, etc. Basically, malware is identified based on its intended use, not necessarily the technology used to create it nor the or technique used to apply it.

Cybercriminals typically send malware in an email or text with a link and/or an attachment. To unleash it, the user has to click on the link or open the attachment. Organizations and individuals have been attacked with variations of malware since the early 70s, when the Creeper virus made its first appearance. Malware is developed to wreak as much damage and disruption as possible to systems and data world-wide. It is also known to be a tool for international cyber warfare.

Here are the top 10 malware used today and how they work. To protect from falling victim, ensure all software is patched and up-to-date, and all operating system updates are applied as soon as they are released. Do not click on links or open attachments from unknown users. When in doubt, go directly to the vendor’s in question website.

If you are a business and want help with cybersecurity solutions for your SMB company, we can help meet your company’s unique demands. Connect with a Client Success Manager to schedule a time to discuss your needs and how we can meet them.




OrlanTech is a managed service provider (MSP) that was founded in 1995 and is now the market leader in delivering technology-as-a-service to small and medium size businesses (SMB) in the central Florida area.

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