Protecting your business from malware attacks requires an understanding of how malware works. All forms of malware, of course, are designed to cause harm. Some of them may steal your business’s data, whereas others may lock your business’s files. With that said, there’s single-stage malware, and there’s two-stage malware. While they can both cause harm, they aren’t the same.

What Is Single-Stage Malware?

Single-stage malware is the most common. It uses a trojan to infect computers and devices. A trojan is a form of malware that’s characterized by its deceptive nature. Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate programs so that more victims download them. They typically look like ordinary programs, and they often go undetected by antivirus products.

All trojans that contain and execute their malicious code after being downloaded are classified as single-stage malware. They have a single step or stage. After you download a single-stage malware, it will automatically execute its malicious code.

What Is Two-Stage Malware?

Two-stage malware is the same as single-stage malware but with an extra step. It still disguises itself as a legitimate program, and it may still bypass antivirus products. Two-stage malware simply has another stage. It’s a more complex form of malware that uses two steps to perform its malicious process or processes.

Two-stage malware works by downloading the malware, after which it will execute the malware’s code. It doesn’t contain any malicious code initially. Rather, two-stage malware only contains directives to download the malicious code. It will download the malicious code, after which two-stage malware will execute it. Downloading the malicious code is the first stage, whereas executing it is the second stage.

Differences Between Single-Stage and Two-Stage Malware

Trojan-based malware is often described as either single stage or two stage. Single-stage malware is any trojan that executes its malicious code during a single stage. Two-stage malware, as the name suggests, contains two stages. It will first download the malicious code. After the malicious code has been downloaded, two-stage malware will then execute it.

Single-stage malware only has a single stage. It already contains the malicious code; it just needs to execute the malicious code.

Both single-stage and two-stage malware may go undetected. You should still use an antivirus product, but it’s not always enough to prevent infection. As trojans, single-stage and two-stage malware can sneak their way past antivirus products. Therefore, you’ll need to develop a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to protect your business from single-stage and two-stage malware.