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Cyber-attack glossary: What are malware, patches and worms?

Source: BBC News

You may be more familiar with these types of patches and worms

Ransomware called WannaCry has spread across 150 countries, earned its makers about $50,000 (£39,000) so far and in doing so, thrown some hospitals in England in to disarray as doctors could not access patient records. It was the story of the weekend and is still ongoing – but if the terms involved were new to you, read on.


Short for “malicious software”, this is a programme written to disrupt computers or the networks between them. WannaCry falls in to this category.


A programme that scrambles a computer’s files, demanding payment before they can be opened again. WannaCry asked for $300 in a virtual currency. Ransomware is not new, but WannaCry spread to more computers than previous ransomware attacks – and, because it hit computers used in hospital trusts, had a bigger impact that previous attempts.


A type of malware that spreads…

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