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Malware is a general term that describes any programs or files that are used to steal, damage or infect electronic devices. Whether they are personal computers, smartphones or enterprise systems, malware can infect and compromise any device with computing capabilities.

Malicious software attacks are a major problem for organizations of all sizes and industries. A single infection can expose sensitive and confidential information that is vulnerable to theft, exploitation and unauthorized disclosure. These infections can also result in data breaches, loss of productivity and lost revenue.

Cybercriminals are behind most malware attacks, and their motives vary. Some are simply looking to make money, while others seek to disrupt business activities or create a political statement. A common goal of malware is to access, encrypt or delete data, and to take partial control of system functions.

Some of the most common types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, keyloggers and adware. Viruses, for example, are dormant until the user activates them by opening an infected program or downloading corrupt files. Once activated, they can do a variety of malicious tasks, including deleting or corrupting files, spreading to other files and hardware components, and even destroying a computer system.

Worms, on the other hand, use security vulnerabilities to spread themselves automatically between computers and networks. They are similar to viruses but can replicate at a much higher speed and cause greater damage. Trojan horses disguise themselves as legitimate programs and, when activated, can steal information or install additional malware.