How does Malware Work?

Cybersecurity has become one of the major concerns for individuals and companies all around the world. The attackers are regularly developing new ways to infiltrate devices and perform malicious tasks like stealing data and infecting networks. To achieve such tasks, attackers use malware programs.

TotalAv Logo

Stay malware-free with reliable antivirus

Don't compromise your Data and Privacy. TotalAV is a top-notch antivirus program that handles various viruses, trojans, and other malware that may target your devices. It will safeguard your devices and enhance your system performance.


Editor's Choice

✔️ Excellent Malware Detection
✔️ Multiple set of Features
✔️ 30 Day Money-Back

Get TotalAV >

The term malware is a combination of two words malicious and software. It is a general term used to describe any threat designed to damage files, steal sensitive data, and cause other damage to the system.

Many users know about different types of malware and their dangers. However, not many know how does malware works.

In this post, we will discuss how different types of malware works and infect the system.

  How to Remove Malware and Cleanup Windows PC

What does Malware do?

After getting into your system, a malicious program can create havoc. These are the main functions of a malware program:

  • Infect legitimate programs with malicious codes.
  • Replicate itself on different areas of the device.
  • Install fake, infected applications. 
  • Steal valuable data from the system, including files, browsing data, passwords, and more.
  • Encrypting or locking the data and asking for ransom.
  • Deleting the essential data
  • Monitoring the activities of the device for spying.
  • Changing the system settings.
  • Bombard the system and browsers with ads.
  • Hijack system browser and modify its settings to take control of it.

How does Malware work?

Here is how a typical malware program works:

  1. Get into the system through user actions like click, download, etc., or through networks.
  2. Replicate and spread through networks or other mediums.
  3. Tries to block the security programs.
  4. Perform its intended task, for example, installing rogue applications, encryption, and more.
  5. Remain in the system and keep performing malicious tasks until detected.

Let us one by one discuss how popular malware types work.


Viruses are one of the oldest forms of malware, causing a nuisance in computers for more than three decades. This is how it works:

  1. Viruses get into the devices through means of emails, networks, physical drives, and more.
  2. After infiltrating the system, it tries to replicate itself and spread throughout the system.
  3. For multiplying itself, it uses a massive amount of CPU power and eventually crashes it down.
  4. Some viruses can also be a delivery agent of other malware like Trojan, Spyware, or others.
  List of Android Viruses and How to Protect


Trojans are another widespread infection threatening the systems for a long time. The named Trojan is based on a famous Greek story of a trojan horse. Here is it working:

  1. Trojan malware presents itself as a useful, legitimate application to lure users into installing it.
  2. After getting installed, Trojans remain in the background and silently perform malicious activities.
  3. Trojans can perform many malicious tasks, such as deleting, modifying, blocking, and copying the data by giving the backdoor remote control to the cybercriminals.
  4. A trojan can also steal your banking information and download the other malware programs on the system. Further, some trojan programs are also used for the DDoS attacks on the targeted websites by sending multiple service requests simultaneously, thereby bringing down the server.
  5 Best Trojan Removal Tools


Ransomware is one of the deadliest malicious programs. In most cases, prevention is the only cure for Ransomware attacks. Here is how Ransomware attacks the device:

  1. Ransomware gets entry into the system through other malware programs like Trojan or user actions like malicious downloads and others.
  2. After getting into the system, the Ransomware quickly locks the files and folders present on the hard drive with a robust encryption algorithm.
  3. After encrypting the files, the Ransomware drops the ransom note on the drive, asking users to pay a certain ransom to get the decrypting tool or key.
  4. The files will remain encrypted until the ransom is paid. There are many free decryptors available but are they are barely helpful.
  11 Best Anti-Ransomware Software


Adware programs are the type of malware that displays unintentional ads while browsing the internet or using some apps. It helps the attackers to generate revenue and promote malware programs through ads. Adware can also become a gateway for other malware to enter the system. Here is how it create havoc in the device:

  1. Adware gets infiltrated into the system mainly through bundled software, fake downloads, infected browser add-ons, redirections to an infected website, and more.
  2. After entering the device, it takes control of the browser to display unwanted ads to the users. Most of those ads are malicious, and clicking on them might trigger malware installation on the system.
  3. Some adware can also install unintended applications of the system. If you find a random app installed on your system, it might be the work of an adware program.
  4. Adware can highly slow down the system by using system resources for continuous ad bombardment.
  5. Once detected, users can easily remove adware programs from the device.
  How to Remove Adware from Android Phone?


As the names suggest, Spyware are dedicated programs meant for spying the system.

  1. It usually gets installed in the system through other malicious programs like Trojan.
  2. After infiltrating the device, it silently remains active in the background and monitors your activities. It can record your confidential information and send it to criminals.
  3. Spyware tracks the internet activity of the victim, the login credentials, banking cards number, and others.
  5 Best Spyware Scanners

How to stay protected from Malware?

From bombarding annoying ads to stealing valuable data to lock your files, malware programs can perform various dubious tasks to make our life miserable. It is better to keep devices protected from them instead of dealing with them after the infiltration.

Here are some preventive tips to stay protected from malware:

  • Never open and download the attachments sent from an unknown sender. Emails are one of the oldest and most common means to spread malware.
  • Don’t navigate to pirated sites for downloading the paid software and games. Cybercriminals infect legitimate programs with malicious codes so that users install them without any doubt.
  • Keep your applications and OS updated with the latest version. Most malware programs exploit the vulnerabilities of apps and operating systems. Regularly updating them will fix the bugs.
  • Follow healthy browsing practices while online. Avoid opening the unknown, suspicious links.
  • Keep your system equipped with a robust antimalware solution such as MalwareFox. Antimalware solutions are explicitly designed to tackle different malware, and MalwareFox is one of the top on the list. It is also essential to keep the security programs updated.
  How to Remove Malware and Cleanup Windows PC
How dangerous is malware?

Different malware programs work on different purposes that define their damage level. Malware programs can be highly dangerous as they can spy on you, lock your files, steal your information, and can even damage the system permanently. 

Does malware steal information?

Malware programs such as Spyware, Browser Hijackers, and others are meant to steal confidential information from the system or track the victim’s activities.

What is the most dangerous malware type?

Though every malware is hazardous to the system in its own way, the most dangerous malware type is Ransomware, as it is almost impossible to get rid of its infection. Other notably deadly malware types are trojan and spyware.

Leave a Comment