Malware is a term meaning malicious software. Such software is created by criminals to gain unauthorised access to computer systems or other internet-connnected devices. Once they are infected, the malware might disrupt their operation or gather information from them.
Where does Malware come from?
There are many ways that malware can infect your system, for example:
- Email attachments that have been contaminated
- Infected websites. This can either be because the website itself has been attacked, or you may be sent a link to an impostor website via links in emails or social media posts
- Corrupted files from storage devices such as hard disks, mobile phones or USB sticks.
The Types of Malicious Software
Spyware steals information from your computer. It may log your keystrokes to steal your passwords and even record screenshots or images from your webcam. A type of spyware called “Remote Access Trojan” allows a criminal to take control of your devices.
Ransomware locks down the files on your computer and demands payment to unencrypt them. Payment is requested via an untraceable route such as Bitcoin.
Viruses and Worms
These are the oldest type of malware but no less harmful than the others. They infect a host system and then spread onto others. The malicious code is hidden away inside programs, files and folders. They can spread across a network or over the internet. As well as spreading they often have a “payload” which sometimes only activates months or years later. This means the worm can become widespread well before it is discovered. Such malware has been used in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
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