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Malware is a term for any malicious software that attempts to infiltrate a computer or network. It typically exploits a target system’s vulnerabilities to gain access to data, install programs or compromise security controls.

Examples of malware include viruses, worms and botnets (also known as robot networks). They exploit security vulnerabilities in order to automatically spread across computers and networks without being detected by users or security products.

Viruses are the most common type of malware, and they copy themselves throughout a computer or network. They may corrupt or delete files, use a user’s email to spread or even erase everything on a hard disk.

Worms are self-replicating viruses that exploit vulnerabilities in systems to automatically spread and replicate themselves without user intervention. Once they have infected a machine, they can run in the background and consume significant system resources and network bandwidth.

Botnets are groups of infected computers that are controlled by a single attacker through command-and-control servers, often used as an army for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. They can be highly adaptive and scalable, using redundant servers to maintain resilience.

Cryptojackers are a popular form of malware that uses computing power to mine cryptocurrency, a process that earns the malware’s creators money in exchange for supplying the processing power required to verify transactions on a blockchain network. Ransomware, which encrypts files and demands payment in exchange for restoring them, is also an extremely common form of malware.