Damage potential

A malware's damage potential rating may be high, medium, or low based on its inherent capacity to cause both direct and indirect damage to systems or networks. Certain malware are designed specifically to delete or corrupt files, causing direct damage. Denial of service (DoS) malware may also cause direct and intended damage by flooding specific targets. Mass-mailers and network worms usually cause indirect damage when they clog mail servers and network bandwidth, respectively.

A malware with High damage potential does the following to systems/devices and networks:
  • To become unusable
  • To not boot or start
  • To require backup data to recover system
  • Network traffic is significantly affected/generates large amount of network traffic – making the computer inaccessible or unusable
  • Roots system (as in rootkits) for malware to gain administrative privileges
Malware with Medium damage potential does the following to systems/devices and networks:
  • Opens system/device/network to allow intrusion (as in most cases of backdoors) or further infection (as in most cases of malware dropping or downloading other malware)
  • Damage can be recovered using  your anti-malware solution
  • Damage can be recovered by using fix/clean tools
Malware with Low damage potential is the easiest to address, as it may only require a simple system restart to revert the changes done by the malware.