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Malware – What Is It and How Can You Stop It?

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Malware is malicious software that is installed on a computer without the user’s consent. The harmful effects of these programs range from the loss of valuable files to identity theft and credit card fraud. There are a range of programs that fall under the category of malware, including computer viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware and crimeware.

Over the past 15 years, hackers have been able to exploit loopholes in software to allow them to install malware on users’ computers. For example, when surfing the Internet, many legitimate websites, such as online game or video websites, require the installation of software components to run properly. Browsers often automatically load these components without asking the user so that an uninterrupted website experience is provided. Malware developers have exploited this function by setting up the malware as a normal component of a website, even though it has no function other than to harm the user’s computer. Alternatively, forms of malware may sometimes be packaged with useful software from the software supplier.

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