Malware, derived from the words “malicious” and “software”, encompasses all kinds of software created with the intention to harm. It is also commonly referred to as badware and is often used as an umbrella term for various types of malware, which are outlined below.
In legal documents, malware may be referred to as computer contamination, which is simply another term for malware.
Typically, the objective of malware is to steal private information or create a backdoor to your computer, allowing unauthorized access to its resources and data. However, any software that performs actions without your knowledge or consent can be classified as malware.
Common Types of Malware
Although some of these terms can describe software with legitimate intentions, malware is generally categorized as one or more of the following:
- Viruses that infect programs and/or personal files.
- Spyware that collects personal information.
- Worms that replicate and spread across networks.
- Trojan horses that appear to be legitimate programs.
- Browser hijackers that modify web browsers.
- Rootkits that provide administrative access for malicious purposes.
- Malvertising that spreads malicious software through legitimate online advertising.
There are other programs or program components that may be deemed malicious due to their harmful intent, but the types are so widespread that they have their own categories.
Certain types of adware, which are supported by advertisements, are considered malware only when those ads are designed to deceive users into downloading more harmful software.
There are various ways in which malware can infiltrate a computer or other device, often occurring accidentally when downloading software that contains malicious components.
Certain malware can exploit security vulnerabilities in operating systems and software programs, particularly those that are outdated or have weak add-ons or plugins.
However, users (i.e., yourself) are often responsible for installing malware unknowingly by carelessly speeding through program installations that include malicious software. Many programs install malware-infected toolbars, download assistants, system and internet optimizers, fake antivirus software, and other tools as default options, unless you explicitly decline them.
Another frequent source of malware is through seemingly harmless software downloads, such as image, video, or audio files, that are harmful executable files which install malicious programs. This is particularly prevalent with torrents.
Except for severe malware infections, most can be removed through relatively simple procedures, although certain types may prove more challenging than others. Malware often takes the form of actual programs that resemble everyday software.
These programs can be uninstalled using the Control Panel in Windows operating systems or with the aid of a third-party program uninstaller.
However, some malware is more complex to eliminate, such as rogue registry keys and individual files that must be manually removed. It is advisable to use antimalware tools and other specialized programs to remove these types of infections. There are numerous free on-demand and offline virus and malware scanners that can effectively and often effortlessly remove most types of malware.
Protecting Yourself From Malware
Undoubtedly, the most prudent approach to evade malware is to take preventative measures to avert it from infecting your computer or device in the first instance. The most critical method of preventing malware from reaching your computer is by installing an antivirus/antimalware program and configuring it to continuously scan for indications of malicious activity in downloads and active files.
Furthermore, it is important to ensure that this program updates itself daily or each time the device is turned on. It has become a common best practice to install a secondary malware/virus scanner from another company.
Protect your business.
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