Fileless Malware

What Does Fileless Malware Mean?

Fileless malware is a type of malware that operates without the use of a traditional executable file. Instead, fileless malware uses exploits, macros or other means to generate an attack vector without an actual executable file being downloaded and installed by a user.


Techopedia Explains Fileless Malware

There are many different kinds of fileless malware. In general, hackers can use an exploit in a legitimate application that creates unauthorized access or activity. For example, using a macro or extension, hackers can generate malware scripts without requiring the download of an executable file. Some fileless malware attacks are done with existing memory. Others may include aspects of spear-phishing or other types of social engineering hacking. The commonality is that they do not include the traditional type of malware which is resident on a given file or folder that gets transferred into a user system by specific user events.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.