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A dropper is a program that has been designed to "install" malware (virus, backdoor, etc.) to a target system. The malware code can be contained within the dropper (single-stage) in such a way as to avoid detection by virus scanners or the dropper may download the malware to the target machine once activated (two-stage).

There are two major types of droppers, those that do not require user interaction which perform through the exploitation of a system by some vulnerability and those that require user interaction by convincing the user that it is some legitimate or benign program. A dropper which installs a malware program to memory only is sometimes called an injector.

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