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What is Malware?

A lot of people talk about malware but do you know what it really means? It is something you can find on just about any type of networked device—from your laptop to your mobile phone to even your home’s security cameras.

Yes, the term is a combination of “malicious” and “software” and is used to denote any type of software that can be harmful to your devices. However, it is important to keep in mind that this term encompasses many different types of software.

Thus, the term “malware” includes things like:

  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Botnet servers
  • Trojan horse
  • Browser hijackers
  • Worms
  • Keyloggers
  • Virus
  • Rootkits

Obviously, these are all very different types of malware but they all do have at least one thing in common: they are all intended to perform unsavory actions within your networked devices. For now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of malware most people encounter when using the internet.


Also, somewhat innocuous, spyware may or may not result in problems with your computer. This type of malware “spies” on your web activity. It might search for and collect financial or identifying information or even keystrokes (ie: keylogger).    It could attempt to steal passwords and other key text that might be useful for accessing secure websites, etc.


At the other end of the spectrum, a Trojan virus is so named because it sneaks into your system by enticing you to click on a link or install software that you think is going to benefit you in some way. And once this virus is in your system it will steal information and perhaps disable security measures, all without you knowing about it at all.  This type of virus is particularly harmful because it basically gives a hacker a key to your hard drive to do anything they want. It is useful not only for hacking laptops but have even been used to gain illegal access to security cameras and mobile phones.


Also on the more devious side, Ransomware is so-named, literally, because it will hold your entire computer hostage and demand a ransom to release it. Or, rather, this type of malware will typically pretend to be a security program that has “locked down” a threat, but you will need to “purchase a software key” to “activate” the program in order to “remove the threat.” In reality, it just prevents you from accessing your computer until you pay to get it back.