Malware, short for malicious (or malevolent) software, is software used or created by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software. 'Malware' is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software. This malware will operate invisibly, often without displaying itself in your Task Manager. To top it off, malware usually refuses to be uninstalled through your control panel, and requires special tools to delete them from your drive. Yes, this is a direct cousin to viruses, but with a broader portfolio of wicked intentions. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs. However, some malware is disguised as genuine software, and may come from an official company website. Malware is often used against individuals to gain personal information such as social security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, and so on. Left unguarded, personal and networked computers can be at considerable risk against these threats. Various factors make a system more vulnerable to malware:
* Homogeneity: e.g. when all computers in a network run the same operating system; upon exploiting one, one can exploit them all. * Weight of numbers: simply because the vast majority of existing malware is written to attack Windows systems, then Windows systems are more vulnerable to succumbing to malware attacks. * Defects: malware using defects in the operating system design. * Unconfirmed code: code from a floppy disk, CD-ROM or USB device may be executed without the user’s permission. * Over-privileged users: some systems allow all users to modify their internal structures. * Over-privileged code: some systems allow code executed by a user to access all rights of that user. * Malwares affect networks easily because of the use of same...
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