The Basics of Malware
Malware is a general term for any type of malicious software, including viruses, spyware and Trojans. Malware can infect your computer in many ways, including through email attachments, downloads from unsafe websites, infected storage devices such as USB drives and by disguising itself as a legitimate program. Once it’s on your computer, malware can collect your personal information, damage your system, or even delete your files.
Most people know to be careful about clicking on links in email messages or downloading attachments from unknown sources. However, malware can also be spread through seemingly safe channels, such as social media and trusted websites.
Common Types of Malware
- Virus: A virus is a type of malware that can replicate itself and spread to other computers. Viruses can damage files, slow down your computer, or even delete your entire hard drive.
- Ransomware: A type of malicious software that blocks access to your system or data until a sum of money is paid.
- Worm: A worm is a type of malware that is similar to a virus, but it does not need to attach itself to a program in order to spread. Worms can spread quickly and infect a large number of computers.
- Trojan: A type of malware that is disguised as a legitimate program or file. Trojans can damage your computer or give hackers access to your personal information.
- Spyware: Spyware is a type of malicious software that gathers information about you without your knowledge. Spyware can track your online activity, steal your passwords and personal information, and even record your keystrokes.
- Adware: Adware is a type of malware that displays unwanted advertisements on your computer. Adware can be annoying and intrusive, but it is not typically harmful.
Problems Caused By Malware
Malware can cause a variety of problems, including:
- Slow performance
- Data loss
- Identity theft
- System failure
- Security breaches