What Do Viruses, Trojans, and Other Malware Actually Do?

Malware, or malicious software, is a prevalent threat that has been around since the early 1970s. This hostile code is designed by cyberattackers to invade, damage, or disable your computer or network. Just like when you’re infected with a virus or “bug” and you can’t perform too well, your computer won’t function as well as it should until the malware is gone.

Antivirus programs can help prevent infections, but they’re far from a perfect solution. Viruses, worms, spyware, and more can still find ways around antivirus software. However, you can improve your chances of preventing and fighting off infections by understanding how malware works.


Although malware cannot harm your hardware physically, it can impair the functions of your software. For example, a computer virus can alter or hijack core computer functions, spy on your activity, and steal your data. What happens after your computer is infected depends on what type of malware snuck onto your device.


Malware is an umbrella term that refers to all malicious software. The best way to fight back is to identify what type of virus has infected your computer. Here are some of the most commonly known types of malware:

  • Viruses: Like in real life, computer viruses are contagious. Infected files can infect other files. If a virus isn’t dealt with, it can cause files to become corrupted and affect your computer’s core functions. These viruses are usually found in executable files that are used to perform functions or operations on a computer.
  • Trojans: A Trojan horse, or simply Trojan, is a type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software. Once it’s on your device, it creates holes in your security.
  • Spyware: Spyware hides in the background of your operating system and spies on what you do. It’s designed to steal your sensitive information.
  • Ransomware: This type of malware is able to lock down your device. The malicious code holds your device hostage until a ransom is paid.
  • Adware: Adware aggressively pushes advertisements on your screen. The real threat of this malware is it can undermine your security, creating an entryway for other malware.
  • Worms: Worms are similar to viruses: They spread to other computers and destroy files.
  • Botnets: A botnet is a network of infected computers that work together to carry out other attacks online. Essentially, your computer becomes a zombie under the control of the attacker.


One of the best ways to guard yourself against attacks is to understand how malware invades your system. Viruses, worms, trojans, and more find paths around your security in various ways. The most common ways they infiltrate your computer are through email and online interactions. One bad click—or spending a second on the wrong website—is all it takes to infect your computer.


If your computer becomes infected, there will be some telltale signs. You may notice your computer is running slower, your system freezes repeatedly, or it has a mysterious loss of memory. Each type of malware will affect your computer in a different way.


Since each variation of malware is unique, each requires its own removal method. The easiest way to get rid of malware is to install a legitimate anti-malware program and run a scan. Once your computer is clean again, it’s recommended that you change your passwords. Also, a good habit is to avoid suspicious looking emails, links, and websites.


ITque specializes in network and data security. Our technicians have more than 120 years of combined technical IT experience and we use only enterprise-grade endpoint security, backup and disaster recovery and business continuity tools to keep your business up and running. We pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive protection package to guard your network from cyber threats such as phishing attacks, viruses, and other malware.

If you are having trouble with your network or you think your data has become corrupted, please call ITque today. If we act quickly enough, we may be able to save your data and get you back up and running.

Call Scott at ITque today: 408.500.0724.

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