Security

Pop Quiz: Malware terms and definitions

How much do you know about the different types of malware? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge of malware terms and definitions.

From traditional viruses and worms to Trojans and rootkits, malicious software, or malware, is a ever-changing problem for IT. But, how much do you really know about the different types of malware? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge of malware terms and definitions.

Note: Unfortunately, our poll tool, which I use to create each pop quiz, doesn't let me indicate a correct answer after each question. To keep from giving away the answers before everyone has a chance to test his/her knowledge, and ruining all the fun, I'm going to hold off posting the answers until later. Updated 10/29/2010: I have placed the answers on the second page of this article.

Answers are on the next page »

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

47 comments
Souletting
Souletting

It would be a better quiz if the quiz allowed more than a few of us at a business to take the quiz. Instead they only show the answers of the first person that took it. bad form.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

In accepting this trophy, I'd like to thank Michael Kassner for his many blogs on the subject, all of which have been educational :D I'd also like to thank my manager... for failing in the task of monitoring my activities, thus allowing me time to post this :p Oh wait, that's not "manager", it's "minder"... how embarrassing ;)

RoninV
RoninV

I just want to know the percentage of us that chose the 'right' answers.

allanmcd
allanmcd

sucks not having the correct answers avaialble

jwhite
jwhite

if you're working in IT and have any sort of basic training and you need confirmation on the correct answers on these or if you answered any of these wrong aside from the Attack vector/Entry point question (since both are technically correct if you're asking for commonly used terms)... sorry if this offends but this is very basic and important stuff. You're doing a disservice to your employer if you don't know these!

smousa
smousa

What are the answers?

BeyondITall
BeyondITall

#2 - In nature, a virus is able to replicate itself. I am interested to see what the answers to this pop quiz are.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

1,223 answered the first question and by the last question only 1,107 answered. Guess a few got disillusioned in the quest.

pafrisch
pafrisch

What about Bots/Botnets?? Can you say, Zeus? As "thegreenwizard" says, where are the correct answers. We all need to be graded.

thegreenwizard1
thegreenwizard1

If 20% have right the 2 first questions where are the best answers? Thanks

stephan
stephan

Good quiz. Dealing with malware infections on an almost daily basis, I've seen all sorts of strange and unexplainable symptoms on clients' computers. The software available to deal with these infections are usually so efecient that one never really bothers with ascertaining the different methods and code used by these malware infections. One of the best bits of software I've come across (by reading up on TechRepublic) is Malwarebytes Anti Malware, it's free and consistently the most effective.

ITAuditGuy
ITAuditGuy

Only about 20% of people got the first two right. :((

seanferd
seanferd

Some of the answers are downright charming. Those who fell for the trick questions are cute. edit: Oh, and "feature" would also have been good for a multiple-choice answer as well. ;)

satelearner
satelearner

it is wonderful way to brush up some rust from your brain

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Then you'll be able to take the quiz yourself. Because of the merger of the ZDNet and TR memberships, I have two log-ins on TR. Both of them were able to take the quiz, and from the same computer, even the same browser.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Y'all have the same connection. Not the quiz' fault :p

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

the right answers are the ones with the highest percent.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I just wanted black on white confirmation that I was right in #1... and I was :D

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Not certain if you are dissing the quiz or those of us taking it. I liked the quiz, great fun and informative. Thanks Bill!

mike
mike

I don't care if my guys call a virus a worm or a trojan horse or use the all-encompassing term "malware." It doesn't matter for the customer's sake. What's important is a technician knowing what tactics to take to eradicate any infection. Also, probably even more important, to be able to clearly communicate to end users precautions to take to prevent infection. Using terminology that the end user understands... Again, they don't care what the nasty is correctly called, they just want it gone. Or have we lost sight of what our jobs are all about? With no end user, we become much less important...

gechurch
gechurch

You are right on both counts. When talking about infections I make no distinction between viruses and spyware. They are both crap you don't want on your system, and these days all the tools find and remove both of these. I also second that Malwarebytes is a great tool. Better than most of the commercial products I've used. I would also add SuperAntiSpyware as a product I find equally effective. Whenever I suspect a virus these days I pull the hard drive and scan with these two, plus a traditional antivirus product (either NOD32 or Kaspersky).

gechurch
gechurch

I found many of the questions hard to answer, not because I don't know about viruses but because the options for answers didn't map that well. Question #2 for example, I don't consider any of the options to be correct. Most people answered "Be able to replicate itself", but there's no requirement for that at all. There are plenty of viruses that are sitting on a web server or CD that will infect any machine that runs it, but doesn't replicate. I assume the answer the author wants is "Must cause damage to the infected system", but I don't consider that to be the case. The good old stoned virus of what, arounr 1995 just put a message on screen saying your computer was stoned. No damage there (unless you take the view that any wasted time or unwanted messages are viruses. I can think of a lot of viruses if that's the case... Acrobat's updater, splash screens, IE's run once wizard etc. Options #3 and #4 to that question obviously aren't right, so it's a silly question. I used to occassionally get multiple choice questions like these at school or uni. Often the teacher had only a basic understanding of the subject, and managed to word all the options such that none were true. It's horrible being in a situation where you know heaps about the subject matter, but will probably get the answer wrong because of a poorly designed test. On the flip side, there seems to be an unwritten rule that for multiple choice tests you have to give four options, and two of them must be obviously incorrect. That makes every questions a 50/50 prospect, so it's great if you don't know the answer.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I have updated this post with a second page that contains the answers.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I promise not to make everyone wait too long. Perhaps the next time I do one of these quizzes, I'll put the answers on a second page. Unfortunately, the polling toll I use to create these quizzes, doesn't allow me to show a correct answer.

blarman
blarman

Just because some have the most votes doesn't mean they are right... It would be more helpful if the correct answers and why is posted somewhere at the end of the article!

justagallopin
justagallopin

I agree, good idea Bill, fun little quiz as well as informative.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

but the questions here mainly went on the methods of operation of the various forms. So using the wrong name can be a symptom of not being sufficiently aware that these things: A) Work in different ways and B) Provide different challenges and threats due to these differences in function. The answers to question #1 may f.ex. imply a lack of awareness that a trojan can in fact be an otherwise fully functional program... in fact it can be a modification of a legit program. For example, any smartphone app can be a trojan, even if it works fine. It may have been modified for that purpose, or it may have been written for that purpose. Both are dangerous situations; in one the risk of people trusting the program is higher, while in the other, there's no non-malicious versions to compare with, nor is there a legit support provider to collect evidence and provide warnings.

BeyondITall
BeyondITall

Terminology is only good for the ones that understand the terminology. The end user does not care if you call the infestation beetle juice or igotchanow as long as you can solve the problem and give them pointers on how to avoid the problem in the future. I do not doubt that I answered every question correctly. The end user is more concerned about if I can solve their problem(s) as opposed to if I can answer questions with the correct answers on a questionaire they could care less about.

Becca Alice
Becca Alice

...that the correct answers are pretty clear on all but the payload/entry vector question. I am a little concerned about the consistent 20% answering random other things on some clear questions.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

According to most definitions, a virus must have which of the following traits? Be able to replicate itself - Pretty sorry virus if it can't. Must cause damage to the infected system - As you pointed out, not all intend to cause damage thus negating "Must cause". Require end-user action to active itself - "Require end-user action" is false based on what is seen in the wild. Only run on Windows systems - Mac and Linux are our proof by example that this statement is false. So I would say there is only one right answer to this question...

sue_lyon
sue_lyon

I do so hate people who make such "superior" comments about a good piece of fun. It is a great pity that they assume they have better knowledge than the person who wrote the article, then demonstrate in their own criticisms that they have not. Very few undergraduates would be taught by a "teacher" with "only a basic understanding of the subject", unless they are attending poor universities, in which case the undergraduate should accept some blame for attending such poor institutions, when they think they has the ability to have attended a better one. Shame on you, gechurch, I say!

pgit
pgit

I think you have your answers for 9 and 10 switched... there isn't even an "all of the above" option for question 9 on the quiz page...

lsemmens
lsemmens

When are we getting the "official" answers, I know what the popular ones were.

vsandor
vsandor

"Which type of malware is self-contained, self-replicating, and requires no user intervention to [be] active?" -Doesn't this fit within the definition of a worm or a virus so that either of those two answers would be correct?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i][b]Note:[/b] Unfortunately, our poll tool, which I use to create each pop quiz, doesn't let me indicate a correct answer after each question. To keep from giving away the answers before everyone has a chance to test his/her knowledge, and ruining all the fun, I'm going to hold off posting the answers until later.[/i]

eferrell
eferrell

Wow! Your line of "undergraduate should accept some blame for attending such poor institutions" is quite a "superior" and elitist view as well. Some students cannot attend the ivy league universities due to monetary concerns. I apologize for all those who have offended you by attending these "lower" universities. Please try not to be so hypocritical in the future, and a bit more understanding. Oh, and I agree that some of the choices were a bit iffy. There are so many unique cases of worms, trojans, viruses and spyware that are starting to blur the lines of standard definitions.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

My take on it is that some viruses require user intervention (such as sticking an infected USB key into a computer, or leaving a floppy in a drive) to be active in memory. Due to their network centric mode of life I've not come across any worms that require user intervention to be active. Usually if they can infiltrate the filesystem they can also execute. Thus they prosper through user inaction such as not applying critical OS patches :).

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