Malware – or malicious software – refers to a range of harmful programs designed to damage your computer, network or server, and it can include viruses, trojans and worms. These programs target individuals and organizations, and can steal information, damage data, hijack website visits and spy on Internet activity.
Malware can hide inside innocuous-looking software (trojans) or spread between machines without relying on user interaction (worms). It can be custom-designed to evade defences and execute specific tasks.
Malware is usually delivered via email phishing or fraudulent links. Malicious apps and USB memory sticks can also compromise smartphones and computers.
Once inadvertently installed, malware can carry out many activities unseen. It may spy on website visits, destroy data, record your keystrokes, or piece together passwords. Ransomware is an increasingly popular form of malware that encrypts important business information until the organization pays a ransom.