What is Malware?


Information on Malware, how you can be infected and how to remove it.


Malware, we hear the word all the time, but what is Malware? Malware is short for “malicious software”. In general terms malware is any kind of unwanted software that is installed on your system without your consent. Viruses, Trojan horses and worms are some examples of malicious software.


Malware is used or programmed by attackers to gather personal information; it can also delete, block, modify or copy data, or disrupt the performance of computers or computer networks.


The beginning of Malware


Malware was originally created years ago as pranks or experiments, but as programmers became aware of the benefits of using malware for profit when financial transactions become common place they created for profit through forced advertising (adware), stealing sensitive information (spyware), spreading email spam or child pornography (zombie computers), or to extort money (ransomware).


How malware is spread


Malware mostly spreads through the internet – through the World Wide Web and e-mail – or through a network. Anyone using a computer or connected to a network is susceptible to it. Malware can even be spread through USB sticks or mobile devices.


Other ways malware are spread are:


  • Infected websites: Criminals are attacking popular websites and looking for vulnerabilities in the sites to compromise so when you visit you will then also become a victim.
  • File sharing: File sharing through peer-to-peer (P”P) websites is a huge risk to the safety of your system. These places contain a lot of software and programs that are infected by criminals.
  • Social networks: When you are surfing the internet, be cautious about third party software and applications. Even when you use social networking sites be careful to give consent to third-party applications for using your profile.
  • Instant messaging attacks through IM attachments similar to email attachments

It is estimated that mobile and internet security companies discover THOUSANDS of new types of malware EACH DAY. Some of these are variants of already existing malware.


Financial institutions contact many customers a day about compromised computers, and the majority have no form of Antivirus software installed, or it is out of date.


How do I remove malware?


This is a difficult question to answer here as the type of malware is changing all the time, and so the treatments for the various types of attacks are different.


The removal process involves several steps that may need to be repeated a number of times to facilitate remediation.


1. Identification

2. Safe Mode

3. Removal

4. Verification

5. Clean-up


Because of this it would be in your best interests to get a professional IT specialist in to fix the problem. The registry also has to be cleaned up, and if you make one mistake it can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Worse case scenario is your system is unusable.



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