Ethical Hacking Tutorial

What is Malware Attack? Different Types of Malware, Analysis & Countermeasures

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • What is Malware Attack in Cyber Security? Meaning & Definition
  • What Are Different Types of Malware Attacks?
  • What is Malware Analysis and Its Types?
  • Using VirusTotal Tool to Scan Malware
  • Countermeasures: How to Prevent Malware Attacks?


Malware in cyber security is too dangerous to be ignored. It can cause major losses to any business, organization, or individual. 

So far, we have dived deep into the meaning of ethical hacking, different types of hacking attacks, computer networking, IP address and its types, and numerous more concepts that are important for you to learn.

In this write-up (part of our comprehensive Ethical Hacking Tutorial for Beginners), let’s get into depth to understand:

  • What is a malware attack?

  • What are the different types of malware attacks?

  • What is malware analysis?

  • Different types of malware analysis

  • Malware analysis tool

  • How to prevent malware attacks?

Let’s get started!

What is Malware Attack in Cyber Security? Meaning & Definition

Any type of malicious program or software, like a virus, used to compromise a device, system, or network is called malware.

Using a malware attack, the hackers can trick the targeted user into sharing personal or sensitive data, steal bank account data or other financial account details, infect the computers for malicious purposes, etc. 

Usually, malware is sent to the users with email attachments, fake app installations, infected software, phishing emails, text messages, and when users click on malicious ads.

What Are Different Types of Malware Attacks?

Now that you have an idea about the meaning of malware attacks, let’s discuss the different types of malware attacks.

1. Trojan Horse

Trojans act like harmless apps or legitimate software, but when users download and install them, they can steal data from the system, crash the device, and track the activities. 

trojan horse

2. Viruses

A virus is simply a malicious program or code that can change the way a system or network works. It has the ability to spread from one computer to another. 

Usually, viruses enter a system through legitimate documents, software, or external devices. 

3. Worms

A worm is such a malware that spreads its copies to multiple computers without any intervention from users. Moreover, it doesn’t need to be part of a software or program to cause damage. 

Worms find vulnerabilities in software or OS and exploit those vulnerabilities to spread further. 


4. Botnet malware

A botnet is a group of computers in a network that are infected by malware. These computers are controlled by a single party or hacker. 

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is the kind of malware that encrypts the information or data of the target system and asks for some ransom/money to decrypt it. 

For example, an attacker can use ransomware to lock the important database, files, or apps of a company. To unlock this data, he can ask for a huge amount (depending on the criticality of the data). 


6. Dropper malware

A dropper is a type of trojan malware that is used to add any other malware (like a virus, worm) to the target system. It can reach computers and phones through pirated copies of apps and software, emails, or ad clicks. 

7. Payload malware

Payload is the malware that the attackers want to send or deliver to the target system or network. 

For instance, if an attack intends to send a virus to the target computer with an email, then the virus is the payload.

What is Malware Analysis and Its Types?

It is the process of analyzing suspicious files and URLs before clicking them. It helps in detecting and avoid threats. So, just having knowledge of what is malware attack is not enough. You also need to know how to analyze malware. 

Below, we are going to discuss the two different types of malware analysis. 

1. Static Analysis 

In static malware analysis, the files or other resources that can contain malware are examined for indicators like hashes, file names, IP addresses, domains, etc. 

It doesn’t involve running a program or code to detect malicious behavior. 

2. Dynamic Analysis 

In dynamic malware analysis, the suspective malicious files or code are used in a sandbox (safe environment) to see the risks it can cause to their systems. Usually, enterprises use dynamic analysis for deeper visibility and robust security of their data and systems.

Using VirusTotal Tool to Scan Malware

VirusTotal is a tool that uses multiple antivirus scanners to help you inspect URLs and files from computers. It also scans website files like plugins and themes. 

It is one of the most popular and trusted online tools for virus scanning. The size of the file should be up to 650 MB. 


Countermeasures: How to Prevent Malware Attacks?

After understanding what is malware attack and its types, it’s time to learn the ways to prevent a malware attack.

Here are some countermeasure tips and ways to avoid and fight against different malware attacks.

  • Use antivirus software on the device and keep it up-to-date.

  • Install antivirus on email servers.

  • Disable the scripts while checking emails

  • Conduct employee training related to the identification of suspicious emails.

  • Avoid downloading software and apps from untrusted websites.

  • Avoid the use of removal drives.

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