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With so many different types of malware – and the vast range of malicious software programs within each type – it’s important that every malware item can be unambiguously classified and easily distinguished from other malicious programs.
Kaspersky Lab classifies the entire range of malicious software or potentially unwanted objects that are detected by Kaspersky’s antivirus engine – classifying the malware items according to their activity on users’ computers. The classification system used by Kaspersky is also used by a number of other antivirus vendors as the basis for their classifications.
Kaspersky’s classification system gives each detected object a clear description and a specific location in the ‘classification tree’ shown below. In the ‘classification tree’ diagram:
Individual malware programs often include several malicious functions and propagation routines – and, without some additional classification rules, this could lead to confusion.
For example, a specific malicious program may be capable of being spread via an email attachment and also as files via P2P networks. The program may also have the ability to harvest email addresses from an infected computer, without the consent of the user. With this range of functions, the program could be correctly classified as an Email-Worm, a P2P-Worm or a Trojan-Mailfinder. To avoid this confusion, Kaspersky applies a set of rules that can unambiguously categorise a malicious program as having a particular behaviour, regardless of the program functions:
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*These rules only apply to malware and do not concern adware, riskware, pornware or other objects detected using proactive defence (which take the PDM: prefix) or the heuristic analyser (which take the HEUR: prefix).
**The rule for choosing the highest ranking behaviour only applies to Trojans, viruses and worms. It does not apply to Malicious Tools.
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