CyberSecurity FAQ - What are the differences among malware types: virus, worm, trojan…?

Although most people understand what spamware is without a formal definition, the most common malware types (viruses, worms, trojans, and bots) are frequently confused by computer experts (who are not cybersecurity experts) and computer noobs like. You can find a table which summarizes the similarities and differences among these common malware types (viruses, worms, trojans, and bots) in the Cyber Attack Mechanism Taxonomy section of the Cyber Attacks page.

Malware Type

Requires Host File to Infect?

Self-Spreading?

Appears legitimate (harmless)?

Can Carry Harmful Payload?

Can Commo with Command & Control Server?

Can Attack OS Kernel & Firmware?

Virus
N/A
N/A
Worm
N/A
N/A
Trojan
N/A
Bots/Botnet
N/A
N/A
N/A
Spyware
N/A
Rootkit
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A