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Threat Categories

Threat Category is a classification term used by F-Secure to indicate the potential severity of threat a program may pose to the user's computer system and/or confidential information.

The Categories, listed in order of severity, are:

  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Riskware


Malware Category

Programs in the Malware Category are generally considered to pose a significant security risk to the user's system and/or information.

Programs in this category include viruses, worms and trojans, among other threats. The actions these malicious programs can range from stealing the user's confidential data, to infecting the computer and turning it into a zombie, to completely crashing the user's computer.

Programs classed as Malware are usually automatically disinfected by F-Secure Antivirus products.

Spyware Category

Programs in the Spyware Category are generally considered to introduce a security risk that may compromise the user's information.

These programs may or may not be unwanted. Some programs in this Category will offer a useful service in exchange for being allowed to gather information from or about the user. Other programs do not advertise their data-gathering functionality.

The information gathered may be innocuous and anonymous; but it may also be personally identifiable and directly related to sensitive areas such as the user's financial records. The legality of these programs may also vary from completely legitimate to barely legal.

If a user is aware of, and accepts, the potential security risk, in exchange for using a program classed as Spyware, the user can configure the antivirus program to exclude it from being scanned.


Riskware Category

Programs in the Riskware Category are generally considered to be safe for use, provided they are used by an authorized person in an appropriate situation. If misused or used by a malicious attacker, the program may then constitute a security risk.

For example, programs classed as Riskware may be legitimate utilities for use by system administrators or knowledgeable users, but may pose a security risk if used by an unauthorized person or in an inappropriate manner. Alternatively, they may be unwanted 'joke' programs that have an amusing or irritating functionality, but pose little or no threat to the system.

If user is aware of, and accepts, the potentially security risks that may arise from using a program classed as Riskware, the user can configure the antivirus program to exclude it from being scanned.



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About Detection Names

A quick guide to Detections - why they are important, how they work and how to read them. Also includes Generic Detections and how they differ from traditional Detections.