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What is Malware?

Computer software is what makes computers useful. If it wasn't for software then PC's simply wouldn't exist. Software isn't all good; in fact there are a number of malicious pieces of software. This software is designed to do a number of different tasks, none of which you will appreciate.

Malware Definition

Malware simply relates to all files which can cause harm to your computer. This includes viruses, spyware and adware. Malware gets its name from two words being put together - malware and software.

In the past, all of these malicious programs were referred to as computer viruses. However, due to the creation of all sorts of new malicious programs, the term malware has been used to talk about all of these.

Types Of Malware

Malware can be used to describe various types of malicious computer program. All of these can damage your computer, but what are the common types?

Spyware

Spyware is a particularly worrying type of computer program. This is designed to sit silently on your computer spying on your every move. Most people don't care about the security of their computer. However, your computer is privileged with all sorts of very sensitive information.

Spyware can track the sites you visit and even record your keystrokes. This means that the software can even get hold of your credit card numbers. Spyware is one of the biggest problems with computers. The majority of computer battles are against a spyware infection.

Adware

Adware is often lumped together with spyware. Although this is slightly different to spyware, there are some similarities. Adware software will stay on your computer silently just like spyware. However, it is designed to sell you products you might like to buy. This software is very annoying as it will bombard you with all sorts of useless adverts.

Viruses And Worms

Viruses are the best known types of malware. Computer viruses are reported in the media on a daily basis. These are designed to cause harm to your computer and they spread easily through the internet. Trojan Horses are one type of virus which allows hackers access to your computer.

How Malware Is Contracted

Malware isn't something that anyone would willingly install on their computer. There are a number of different ways that your computer can become infected. The most common method of infection is when you download software.

Software can come bundled with all sorts of nasty extras. This is even more likely if you ever consider downloading anything illegally. Worms are a special type of virus which can spread through email.

To provide protection from computer viruses you must install an antivirus scanner. It's also important to keep this fully up to date. Don't let viruses ruin your computer.

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You can protect your computer from viruses without expensive software. Instead, follow these simple tips:

Stay up-to-date on all system updates.

Don't download any email attachments you weren't expecting.

Avoid freeware and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

Use alternative web browsers and email software.