Short for “Malicious software”, malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. Common examples of malware include viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware.
Viruses, for example, can cause havoc on a computer’s hard drive by deleting files or directory information. Spyware can gather data from a user’s system without the user knowing. This can include anything from the web pages a user visits to personal information, such as credit card numbers.
Consumers can combat malicious software by installing anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities that will seek and destroy the malicious programs found on your computer. Anti-virus/anti-spyware programs can be purchased wherever computer products are sold.