Malware is short for “malicious software."  It includes {{#NewWindowLink: | viruses }} and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone, or mobile device without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.[1]

Different Types of Malware Edit

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Distribution of attacks by malware types, excluding data from Russian users. August 2013 – July 2014, Source: SecureList

  • {{#NewWindowLink: | Virus }} - Software that can replicate itself and spread to other computers or are programmed to damage a computer by deleting files, reformatting the hard disk, or using up computer memory.
  • {{#NewWindowLink: | Adware }} - Software that is financially supported (or financially supports another program) by displaying ads when you're connected to the Internet.
  • Spyware - Software that surreptitiously gathers information and transmits it to interested parties. Types of information that is gathered includes the Websites visited, browser and system information, and your computer IP address.
  • Browser hijacking software - Advertising software that modifies your browser settings (e.g., default home page, search bars, toolbars), creates desktop shortcuts, and displays intermittent advertising pop-ups. Once a browser is hijacked, the software may also redirect links to other sites that advertise, or sites that collect Web usage information.

How to prevent Malware Attacks Edit

Various factors can make computers more vulnerable to malware attacks, including defects in the operating system design, having all of the computers on a network run the same OS, giving users to much permissions or just using the Windows OS (due to its popularity, it gets the most malware written for it). The best protection from malware continues to be the usual advice: be careful about what email attachments you open, be cautious when surfing and stay away from suspicious websites, and install and maintain an updated, quality antivirus program.[2]

  1. Malware. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
  2. What is Malware and how can we prevent it? (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from {{#NewWindowLink:}}