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In this course we will discuss a huge problem on the Internet: The spread of malware.
The number of cyber attacks has increased again in 2020. New forms of malware have evolved, even more disruptive and more damaging.
We will cover different types of malware, such as, viruses, worms, and trojans, talk about botnets and ransomware, and mention some countermeasures.

Self-paced since February 24, 2021
Language: English
Advanced, Beginner, Cybersecurity, Internet

Course information

In this course, Prof. Meinel and the teaching team aim to raise awareness for malware cyber threats. Botnets, worms, trojans, and spyware are the most common types of malware. But with every newly discovered malware, there is already a new, more sophisticated one on the market. Antivirus programs lag behind the rapid development of new malware.

Participants get to know the most common types of malware. They learn how they work and which effects they can have on your personal data. Prominent examples will show how cyber attacks can harm not only your personal data but also whole businesses. After knowing about the risks, we want to discuss with you how to avoid such an attack. Which protective measures can be implemented quickly? We should not forget: Many leaks are caused by the human factor.

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Take the cybersec exam and get a qualified certificate!

This course content is part of the cybersecurity series on openHPI. The series consists of three courses and ends with the Cybersecurity exam. By the Cybersecurity exam, you have the chance to receive a free record of achievement or a qualified certificate. Therefore, please attend the three courses Confidential Communication in the Internet, Digital Identities, and Cyberthreats: Malware and finish them with a confirmation of participation. This allows you to register for the cybersecurity exam which covers questions from all three courses. The Cybersecurity exam will be offered again in the future.


  • Introduction into the Internet as Attack-Target
  • General Differentiation and Introduction into Malware
  • "Reasons" for Malware
    • Technical Failures
    • Human Failures
  • Different Kinds of Malware
    • How does a malware spread? Virus, Worm, Trojan
    • Different kinds of Malware: Ransomware, Keylogger, Scareware
    • Prominent Examples of Malware: Emotet, Caberp
  • Protective Measures against Malware

Required skills:

  • General IT knowledge

Course level:

  • Basics

Target group:

  • Everyone who uses the internet a lot and is potentially vulnerable against attacks by malware.

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on openHPI and take the course!
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Course End
Feb 24, 2021
Course Start
Feb 10, 2021


This course was rated with 4.55 stars in average from 44 votes.

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 50% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 80% of the course material.

Find out more in the certificate guidelines.

This course is offered by

Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel

Christoph Meinel (Univ.-Prof., Dr.rer.nat.,, 1954) was Managing and Scientific Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering gGmbH (HPI) until March 2023. He is a full professor (C4) for Informatics at the university of Potsdam and has the chair for "Internet Technology and Systems" at the HPI. From 2017 to 2021 he was the founding dean of the Digital Engineering Faculty of the University of Potsdam.
His research interests are broadly diversified in the area of innovative Internet applications and systems, especially in digital education, e-learning & tele-teaching, artifical intelligence and deep learing, and Internet and information security. He is also active in the field of innovation research and investigates the Stanford innovation method design thinking. Former research interest were in telemedicine, as well as in the theoretical foundations of computer science in the areas of complexity theory and efficient OBDD-based algorithms and data structures.