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How Does Malware Work?

Feb 28, 2018

Among all the types of potential threats you could find when working on the internet, malware may be the most prolific.


An abbreviation of “malicious software” malware makes up the majority of threats your device is likely to encounter on the internet.  Anytime you see an antivirus alert pop up or you see a warning that you might not want to open this email attachment or visit a specific website, the reason probably has something to do with malware.  Attackers use malware to get into the deepest crevices of your computer’s code in order to perform one of many malicious actions. So, it is better to use branded products like Hikvision’s as they are successfully dealing with such threats for many years.

Viruses and ransomware are among the most common types of malware.  These programs get into your system and shut down your web browser or install tracking software and keystrokes or even freeze up your system to the point that it is mostly unusable.


There are three basic aspects to all malware:

  • Objective—what is the malware designed to do or achieve?
  • Delivery—how does the malware get to its intended target?
  • Concealment—how does the malware avoid detection?


Malware can have enumerable objectives. Theft is a primary objective, mostly for information:

  • Personal data
  • Internet protocol credentials
  • Payment information

Another objective could be to disrupt normal computer operation.  Essentially, this type of malware can corrupt important critical OS files, which destabilizes your system. This type of malware could also launch a well-orchestrated and physical self-destruction during the system installation.  In addition, malware like this could also result in a massive system or network infection, like a large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Malware could also take control of your system in the attempt to extort money from you.  Often called ransomware, or even “scareware,” these empty threats try to convince you that your computer has an innocuous (and non-existent) virus or other threat and you need to buy a particular suite of removal software to get rid of it.


Just as there are many different kinds of malware, there are also many different kinds of malware objectives.  Here are some of the most common:

  • Trojan Horse—a program which appears to be one thing (typically something useful) but launches malware instead, when you try to install it
  • Virus—mirroring a biological virus, this type of malware gets into your system and replicates itself, typically only infecting one specific program
  • Worm—unlike the previous two, the worm aims to infect multiple targets
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