Malware is a form of software that launches a malicious attack on your personal computer by making changes without your knowledge or consent. Many times people think of this in terms of computer viruses, even though malware actually covers a large range of computer problems that can be instituted through these bad software programs. This includes Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and adware. Some people also refer to malware as a form of computer contaminant, as it is something that actively gets into your computer and wreaks havoc.
People who do not know or understand what's going on may think that their computer is crashing due to defective software, but malware is not defective. It's software that's specifically designed to destroy your computer. This means that while it causes your computer to crash, it is doing what is has been programmed to do, and therefore it is running exactly as it should be - which is bad news for you.
Many people believe that, in the beginning, many of the malware programs that infect computers were launched only as pranks or as a test of a beginning programmer's skill. With the growing interconnectivity of the internet, however, it appears that most of the malicious software that attacks computers does so now as a way to make a profit. Malware can do this through something as simple as forcible advertisements that people must look at every time they boot up their computers, to something more serious, like carrying out identity theft by getting into your files and stealing your personal information.
One way that malware programs make a profit is through spyware attacks. Often times, spyware programs get into a person's computer to monitor their internet usage so that a criminal advertiser can use this information to target a specific victim. And while it doesn't really steal any personal information from you, it does use the information on what sites you're visiting to relay what advertisements might work best on you. This is a form of deceitful malware that's getting into your computer and your life in order to target you specifically.
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