A simple definition of malware or malicious software is ‘software that’s been made by someone so that your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone doesn’t work as it’s supposed to.

You might have heard the terms ransomware, virus, trojan horses, spyware and adware – these are all types for malware. All these types of malware pose different threats to your cybersecurity and your business. Read on to discover what each of these forms of malware can do.


Ransomware effectively attempts to take your computer system captive and demand a ransom to return your access. It might encrypt all the files on the hard drive or repeatedly display messages forcing the user to pay a ransom to the creator of the software.


A virus is a particularly nasty form of malware because it can copy itself and spread to other computers. They will be sent to you attached as a file but will most often be disguised as something you know and trust. Once they’re in, viruses can be used to steal sensitive data, damage computers and networks and much more!

Trojan horse

A ‘trojan horse’ or ‘trojan’ is a form of software that will cleverly disguise itself a normal file or program in order to trick computer users into downloading or installing it on their device. When it has gained access the criminal behind the trojan horse will be able to view user activity, modify files, steal sensitive data and potentially install further malware.


Spyware gathers information about the system it’s gained access to. This means it’ll track your activities, monitor your browsing activity and might even record your keystrokes – that means it could record any passwords you type!


If adware is downloaded it will bombard your device with ads. These will be the particularly annoying kind of ads that pop up constantly, look quite confusing and have multiple links. Adware will also monitor the websites you visit on your device so it can tailor the ads it pushes on you to better suit your tastes.

So…should I be afraid?

Malware, in its various forms does pose a serious threat to your system and your business. You should be wary, but not afraid! There are various steps you can take to protect your computer system from malware.

MailCleaner is a business anti spam gateway that once installed between your mail infrastructure and the internet, offers professional protection against malware by eliminating up to 99% of spam.

To find out more about how MailCleaner can protect your business from malware visit our product comparison page.