What Is Malware?
Malware is software that’s designed to cause damage, or gain unauthorized access to your computer or network. It can include viruses, ransomware, spyware, Trojans and other malicious code.
Originally defined in 1990 by cybersecurity researcher Yisrael Radai, malware isn’t just the name for a specific type of virus. It also encompasses other types of malicious software that aren’t as easily recognizable.
Different kinds of malware spread in different ways. Viruses insert their own code into other programs, while worms take advantage of software flaws to spread without any input from users.
Other types of malware, like Trojan horses, trick users into installing them by masquerading as a legitimate program. They’re delivered to users via email attachments and drive-by downloads.
Worms are the most common form of malware, and they can infect an entire network of devices very quickly. They can wipe out data, corrupt files and disable computers’ hardware.
Botnets are large networks of infected computers that attackers control remotely. They are used for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, spamming, fraud and cyber espionage.
Signs of Malware
If your computer is running slower than usual, or you’re experiencing a decrease in available storage space, your device may be infected with malware. Other signs of malware include pop-ups and unwanted programs on your screen or a decrease in battery life.
Whether it’s a virus, a worm or a trojan, malware is an ongoing threat that requires constant monitoring and protection. It’s always best to be proactive and avoid clicking on links, opening files or visiting infected websites.