What is Malware?

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Removing malware can be difficult. Preventing it from happening is much easier.

Malware, short for malicious software, is used to describe any software that was created with bad-natured intent. Some malware is intrusive and cause serious problems with your computer. Other malware can secretly steal information and send it to the designer.

There are many types of malware. Some of these include viruses, network worms, Trojans, spyware and rootkits.

How does malware spread?

Malware is distributed through the Internet. Some are downloaded from websites; others are distributed through email as an attachment or as a hyperlink. When malware infects the computer, it can spread by sending itself to contacts stored on the computer. In fact, it will often install on a computer and tell the user to download an anti-malware program. Then, it will repeatedly tell the user to download updates or other programs which are almost always additional malware.

How can you protect your computer from malware?

Since the best defense is not to be infected at all, avoid websites that host illegal content, such as pirated software or movies. Also, avoid clicking on links in email and instant messages, even if you know the person who sent the link. And last, but certainly not least, use a trusted anti-virus program and be sure to keep it up-to-date.

How can you remove malware that has already infected your computer?

Once a computer has been infected with malware, anti-virus software is often the only way to remove the infection. In some cases, malware can damage the computer so badly that it must be reformatted by removing and reinstalling the operating system.