Malware, a portmanteau for malicious software, is software used or created by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to computer systems.

Definition

Malware, a portmanteau for malicious software, is software used or created by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software. Malware is the term used to refer to a number of categories of malicious or questionable software such as:

  • computer viruses
  • ransomware
  • worms
  • trojan horses (also rogue "security" software)
  • rootkits
  • keyloggers
  • dialers
  • spyware, adware, potentially unwanted software (aka grayware)
  • bots in botnets

Malware has caused the rise in use of protective software types such as anti virus, anti-malware, and firewalls. Each of these are commonly used by personal users and corporate networks in order to stop the unauthorized access by other computer users, as well as the automated spread of malicious scripts and software.

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