Malware is computer software which has been designed with intention to damage, disrupt, or to allow unuathorised access to a system. Malware is a term made up of the words malicious software. There can be many different types of malware, such as trojans, viruses, ransomware, and bloatware, to name a few. Malware can get onto systems in a variety of ways, with the most common getting onto the computer through the browser (when visiting websites containing malware) or by downloading infected files (through an email client).
Malware can affect any type of computer operating system whether it be Windows, Apple OSX, or Linux (as well as others), as well as tablets and smartphones. In fact, almost anything with a processor, including smart gadgets, are capable of hosting malware and need to be protected as a result.
Malware prevention software such as anti-malware and firewalls can try to prevent them getting access to the system, but are not always successful. This is because their usual method for identifying malware requires knowledge of its signature, which they may not have for new types of malware. Additionally, some of the latest malware intentionally changes its signature, making it harder for antimalware software to identify its presence.
Last updated: 2 September 2017