Software that is designed to disrupt normal operations of a device
Malware, a portmanteau from the words malicious and software, is a general term which can refer to viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other types of harmful software. A key distinction of malware is that it needs to be intentionally malicious; any software that unintentionally causes harm is not considered to be malware.
The general goal of malware is to disrupt the normal operations of a device. This disruption can range in purpose from displaying ads on a device without consent to gaining root access of a computer. Malware may attempt to obfuscate itself from the user in order to collect information quietly or it may lock the system and hold data for ransom. In DDoS attacks, malware such as Mirai affects vulnerable devices, turning them into bots under the control of the attacker. Once modified, these devices can then be used to carry out DDoS attacks as part of a botnet.
The creation of malware arose as the result of experiments and pranks by computer programmers, but discovery of the commercial potential it creates has turned malware development into a lucrative black market industry. Today, many attackers offer to create malware and/or launch malware attacks in return for compensation.
No one can be completely impervious to malware attacks; new attacks are constantly being developed to challenge even the most secure systems. But there are plenty of ways to minimize vulnerability to malware attacks, these include:
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