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Malware is any software that attempts to invade a computer system, server, tablet or mobile device. This can be done by stealing private information, leaking sensitive data, causing device damage or slowing down a device’s performance. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, rootkits and ransomware.

Cybercriminals are always seeking new ways to infect devices with malware. For example, they can use phishing attacks or a rogue app on the Apple or Google App stores to infect a device with malware. They can also use instant messaging platforms to spread malware through infected links and phishing attacks. They can even infect mobile apps with code injected into them.

Many types of malware use advanced evasion and obfuscation techniques to avoid detection by antivirus, antimalware or firewall products. Some use web proxies to hide malicious traffic and their source IP addresses. Others use polymorphic malware, which changes its underlying code repeatedly to prevent signature-based detection. There are even forms of malware that rely on memory scrapers that harvest data temporarily stored in RAM. And, of course, there’s the ever-popular ransomware that encrypts a device’s data and demands payment from victims to decrypt it.