Malware, meaning 'malicious software', is a term used to describe any program or code that is created with the intent to do harm to a computing device, network, or server. The purpose of malware is to infiltrate a computer system discreetly, so by the time the user realizes their system is infected, sensitive data and personal information may already be breached. Common types of malware include viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, Trojans, worms, spyware, malvertising, scareware, backdoors, and mobile malware.
Unfortunately, the creation and ingenuity surrounding malware is on the rise, due to the financial gain that cyber criminals can make from it. While there are various factors that can make devices more vulnerable to malware attacks - such as defects in the operating system (OS) design, or giving users too many permissions - prevention and defense is still possible. For example:
- Employ an antivirus solution
- Be cautious when opening email attachments
- Be careful when web browsing
- Update your devices, and install patches when necessary