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Malware is software that is designed to steal private information, compromise critical systems or devices, disrupt operations and more. It is usually delivered via social engineering tactics and exploits security vulnerabilities that exist on a device or in the network. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware are examples of malware.

Infections can range from annoying to dangerous to the extent of damaging a business or individual’s financial wellbeing. A common infection is Ransomware, which encrypts files across an entire device or an extended network and demands a payment in exchange for the decryption key. Other infections include trojan horses that give attackers access to a system, allowing them to steal data or take over the machine entirely.

Fortunately, cyberattacks can be prevented by keeping up-to-date on the latest security trends and techniques, using cybersecurity software to detect and remove malware quickly and thoroughly, and following basic precautions. For example, it’s always best to exercise caution when clicking links or opening attachments in emails and instant messages from unknown senders.

Malware detection methods have evolved from static rules that look for specific patterns or file signatures to dynamic techniques based on artificial intelligence and machine learning that can learn what “bad” files or processes look like over time. This allows for a more thorough and effective detection of malware, even when it is not based on any known pattern or signature. These methods can also be used in tandem with traditional, static detection to enhance the overall protection of a device and an extended network.