What Is Malware?

Malware, or malicious software, is a harmful computer program intentionally designed to disrupt computers, mobile devices, networks, and other digital systems.

The most common forms of malware include:

  • Worms. Standalone malware that replicates itself across different computers.
  • Spyware. Collects data from infected devices and sends the info to the hacker.
  • Viruses. A program that replicates itself across programs on the target device.
  • Ransomware. Encrypts data and demands payment from the victim to restore access.
  • Adware. Software that displays unsolicited advertising.
  • Trojans. Malicious programs disguised as legitimate software.

Malware-based cyber-attacks aim to steal valuable personal data for fraudulent use, disrupt business operations, or advance politically motivated agendas.