What is Malware?
Malware is a catch-all term for various malicious software, including viruses, adware, spyware, browser hijacking software, and fake security software.
Once installed on your computer, these programs can seriously affect your privacy and your computer’s security. For example, malware is known for relaying personal information to advertisers and other third parties without user consent. Some programs are also known for containing worms and viruses that cause a great deal of computer damage.
Types of Malware
- Viruses which are the most commonly-known form of malware and potentially the most destructive. They can do anything from erasing the data on your computer to hijacking your computer to attack other systems, send spam, or host and share illegal content.
- Spyware collects your personal information and passes it on to interested third parties without your knowledge or consent. Spyware is also known for installing Trojan viruses.
- Adware displays pop-up advertisements when you are online.
- Fake security software poses as legitimate software to trick you into opening your system to further infection, providing personal information, or paying for unnecessary or even damaging “clean ups”.
- Browser hijacking software changes your browser settings (such as your home page and toolbars), displays pop-up ads and creates new desktop shortcuts. It can also relay your personal preferences to interested third parties.