This definition explains the meaning of Malware. Malware is malicious software created with one aim – to cause damage. A great deal of jargon is used when talking about cyber security, and it’s surprising how often the terms virus, worms and Malware are misused. One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is using the term ‘virus’ interchangeably with Malware. To clear up any confusion, Malware is a broad term that refers to any program designed to access or damage a computer system.
Malware started simply for the amusement of programmers to prank each other. However, it became more malicious, with criminals started using it to extort money, steal passwords or bank and credit card information. The information is then used to drain accounts, run up large bills or sold on to other criminals. Malware infiltrates your computer without your knowledge, and once installed within your systems it has the potential to:
- vandalise and destroy software,
- steal sensitive information using spyware,
- force unwanted advertising onto systems via adware,
- spread email spam or porn,
- attempt to extort money using ransomware, or
- steal money and assets.