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How many different types of computer virus are there?

There are several different types of computer virus, and new variants and types continue to emerge as technology evolves. Here are some common types of computer viruses and malicious software that you will want to avoid.

  • Worms: These are self-replicating programs that spread across computer networks without the need for human intervention.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs disguised as legitimate software or files. They can create backdoors, steal information, or provide unauthorised access to a system.
  • Ransomware: A type of malware that encrypts files on your computer and demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
  • Spyware: This software secretly gathers information about your activities and sends it to a third party without your consent.
  • Adware: Programs that display unwanted advertisements or redirect web browsers to advertising websites.
  • Keyloggers: Software or hardware that records keystrokes, allowing an attacker to monitor and capture sensitive information, such as your passwords and credit card numbers.
  • Rootkits: Malicious tools that gain privileged access to a computer system and hide their presence from detection by antivirus software or other security measures.
  • Botnets: These are entire networks of infected computers, controlled by a central server, used to perform various malicious activities, such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
  • File Infectors: Viruses that infect executable files and propagate when the infected file is executed.
  • Macro Virus: A virus that infects documents containing macros, such as Microsoft Office documents, and use the macros to execute malicious actions.
  • Polymorphic Virus: A virus that can change its own code or signature to avoid detection by antivirus software.
  • Multipartite Viruses: Viruses that infect both files and the boot sector of a computer’s hard drive, allowing them to spread through multiple means.

This is not an exhaustive list, but covers some of the terms you are more likely to come across.

As the field of computer security is constantly evolving, and new types of viruses and malware are being developed regularly, it’s crucial to maintain up-to-date security software and follow best practices for online safety.