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Viruses, trojans, worms and other malware are programs designed to interfere with normal computer operations. They may be aimed at individual or company victims. Their purpose is usually to take over the processing power of a device and cause disruptions, as well as lock important files. They also often send spam to infected machines.

Most of these threats require user cooperation in order to spread. Some examples include pop-up ads, malicious email attachments, and file-sharing software.

Cybercriminals can use spyware to steal personal information, which they then use to gain access to other systems. They also use social engineering to manipulate victims into downloading unwanted software.

These types of threats are hard to detect and remove. They can be delivered to your system through USB drives, drive-by downloads, and popular collaboration tools. They are often mistaken for legitimate programs, so you need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

In addition, you can get infected through unsecured websites. These sites sometimes contain malicious advertisements that will install viruses on your computer. They will then redirect you to a web page with malicious content.

Other methods of introducing malware include file-sharing software, as well as file servers. These programs can be used to copy the virus to other files on your computer.

Cybercriminals can also get into your system by creating fake pop-ups that suggest you download a scam “security” program. They can also use malicious network packets to exploit a security vulnerability on your system. They can then install the malware in your kernel memory.