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Malware refers to software that can damage or disrupt a computer or network. It can be installed through drive-by downloads, apps, websites, and email.

Typically, malicious programs are designed to steal information or destroy computers. However, they can also affect availability, confidentiality, and integrity.

One of the most common forms of malware is ransomware, which encrypts user data and demands a payment before the data can be recovered. Ransomware attacks often lead to data breaches. A victim of ransomware can have their operations severely degraded and may be forced to pay in order to restore their access.

In addition to ransomware, cybercriminals can exploit keyloggers and spyware to collect sensitive data. These tools record a victim’s keystrokes, login credentials, and more. They can be used to steal confidential information, and they can even help attackers gain remote control over a device.

Another common form of malware is a rootkit. A rootkit is a set of software tools that enables a threat actor to remotely gain access to a system. This is done by altering the operating system’s API calls.

Other forms of malware include adware, spyware, and scareware. These tools can deceive users into downloading unnecessary software or browsing a suspicious site. Adware can track what sites the user visits, and it can serve up personalized advertisements. Scareware will also redirect the user to a malicious website.

Some of the most prevalent types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. Most viruses infect other programs to spread. Worms are similar to viruses in that they reproduce themselves without a host program.