2. Classification

We classify Malware in the following categories based on their intentions and assign threat levels:

Category Name Description Threat
1 Stealers These are intended to directly steal money from infected users and are written by professional criminals who are in the game to make money. They try to steal credit card info, banking passwords and such. 1
2 Mule Masters These intend to use the resources of infected computers such as network bandwidth, computing power, storage capacity for their games. Rootkits and worms that reduce users computers to bots used to SPAM and launch DDOS attacks fall under this category 2
3 Parasites These try to generate money by tampering with the internet advertisement based revenue models. They involve search redirections, browser hijacking, generating false clicks and such. 3
4 Destroyers These generally cause irreversible damage to infected computers by deleting data or destroying hardware. Sometimes professional hackers are hired to do such activities out of malice but most of the time these are written by amateurs who are just seeking for their 15 minute glory 2
5 Snoopers These collect private information like browsing and usage patterns. Though they do not directly make money, they breach the privacy rights of the users. Many of them are written by professional software vendors to make their products better or understand their customers. Occasionally the snooped data is sold which can be used for different intentions. Since the legal systems are different across international boundaries, it is difficult to draw a single line where the software starts behaving like a malware and more difficult to convict it. 4
6 Ventures These are new ideas that clever hackers are trying out. The hackers want to find out if the scheme works, or want to measure the depth of their attack or some other metrics. This usually will not have a pay load but will be a precursor to something big that is coming if it succeeds. 3
7 Bugware This includes all software, hardware and websites that have been created but have bugs in them that are then exploited by hackers for their purposes. So indirectly they are the platform on which hackers launch their attack. 4

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