Definition of Dropper

A dropper is a type of software or malware that is primarily designed to secretly deliver, install, or execute other programs or malicious files on a target system. Once executed, the dropper can spread the payload, such as viruses, Trojans, or other types of malware, without the user being aware. It is commonly used by hackers and cybercriminals to infiltrate and infect users’ systems, gain unauthorized access, or steal sensitive data.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Dropper” is: /ˈdrɒpər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Dropper is a type of malware that is specifically designed to install or “drop” other malicious software onto the targeted system.
  2. It operates discreetly in the background, often avoiding detection by employing various evasion techniques such as encryption and obfuscation.
  3. Preventing Dropper attacks requires robust security measures, including regular software updates, the use of antivirus and anti-malware tools, and user education on safe browsing habits.

Importance of Dropper

The technology term “Dropper” is important because it refers to a type of malicious software (malware) that enables the distribution and installation of additional harmful software onto a targeted system.

This capability makes droppers a significant threat to both individual users and organizations, as they can lead to severe security breaches and the compromise of sensitive information.

Often used with Trojans or other threats, droppers can bypass security protocols and function silently, allowing a hacker to gain access and control of the victim’s device without their knowledge.

As such, understanding and recognizing the role and implications of droppers as a critical component of cyber attacks is essential for maintaining robust security practices and protecting digital assets.


Dropper, primarily known in the realm of cybersecurity, is a type of malicious software whose main purpose is to infiltrate and silently install other harmful programs onto the victim’s computer system. Dropper operates discreetly to evade detection and bypass security measures, ensuring that its harmful payload can reach its intended target. The key function of a dropper is to deposit or “drop” its payload, such as a virus, ransomware, or other malware, upon successful infiltration of the system.

This covert method is what makes a dropper an efficient and powerful tool for cybercriminals looking to infect, control, or compromise systems with ease. The use of droppers caters to myriad nefarious activities, ranging from data theft, espionage, and ransom demands to the unauthorized employment of computing resources for cryptocurrency mining or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Droppers may infect a system through various means, including phishing emails, malicious links, and compromised websites that exploit vulnerabilities in the target’s software.

Users may unknowingly download droppers masked as seemingly benign files, attachments, or software updates. Once installed, the dropper manages to bypass security protocols and embed itself within the unsuspecting system to start accessing and infecting other computer devices within the network. Vigilance in handling unverified downloads, continuous system updating, and the consistent use of reliable security software help mitigate the risk of droppers affecting one’s system.

Examples of Dropper

A dropper is a type of malware that is designed to install or execute other malicious software onto a target system. Here are three real-world examples associated with dropper technology:Upatre: Upatre is a dropper malware known for being involved in numerous cybercrime campaigns that target Windows operating systems. It was first identified in 2013 and frequently spreads through spam emails. Once the malware infects a device, it often downloads and installs additional threats, such as the Dyre banking Trojan, which is designed to steal personal banking credentials from users.

Smoke Loader: Smoke Loader is a sophisticated dropper malware that has been active sinceIt is known for being distributed through various means, such as spam emails, exploit kits, and fake software updates. Smoke Loader is known for its modular capabilities, allowing it to download additional payloads and modules, with various purposes such as credential theft, remote access, or cryptocurrency mining.

Hancitor: Hancitor, also known as Chanitor or Tordal, is a dropper first discovered inThis malware is primarily distributed through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments, such as Office documents embedded with macros. When activated, Hancitor downloads and installs additional malware, including the Pony info-stealer and Vawtrak banking trojan, which target the victim’s sensitive information and financial data.

Dropper FAQ

What is a dropper?

A dropper is a type of malware that is designed to deliver, or ‘drop’, other malicious software on a target system. The dropper itself may not cause any damage to the infected system but serves as a vessel for the actual malware that will be installed.

How does a dropper infect a system?

A dropper can infect a system through various means, such as email attachments, malicious downloads, or compromised websites. Once a dropper is executed on the target system, it starts deploying its payload, which can include viruses, worms, or trojans.

Why do cybercriminals use droppers?

Cybercriminals use droppers for several reasons. Firstly, they provide an additional layer of obfuscation, making it harder for antivirus software to detect the malware. Secondly, droppers allow for the installation of multiple types of malware in a single attack. Finally, they enable the attacker to update the payload without having to reinstall the dropper on the target system.

How to protect against dropper attacks?

To protect against dropper attacks, follow these best practices:
1. Always maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
2. Enable a strong firewall.
3. Be cautious with email attachments, even if they seem to come from a trusted source.
4. Avoid downloading files or software from unknown or suspicious websites.
5. Keep your operating system and software up-to-date with the latest security patches.

How can I remove a dropper infection?

If you suspect a dropper infection on your system, follow these steps:
1. Disconnect your device from the internet to prevent further damage.
2. Boot your system in safe mode to limit the running processes.
3. Run a comprehensive malware scan with your antivirus software.
4. If your antivirus detects and removes the infection, reboot your system and perform another scan to ensure all traces of the malware are gone.
5. Update your antivirus software and other security measures to prevent future infections.

Related Technology Terms

  • Malware Delivery System
  • Trojan Horse
  • 2

  • Payload Installation
  • Software Bundling
  • Command and Control Server

Sources for More Information


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