What is Malware?

what is malware
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Understand What is Malware and How It Negatively Impacts Your System

We like to say that malware is tricky software. It's a program or application on your computer that appears to be innocuous, but actually infects your machine.

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Here's an example: recently, I wanted to transfer Apple Music purchases from my iPhone to a new Mac. Unfortunately, this is not an easy process (although it sounds like it should be!). Apple allows Mac to Mac music transfers and Mac to iPhone transfers, but not iPhone to Mac. In order to accomplish this task I went in search of a music file transfer program—something that would convert and move my files without me having to work with thousands of files individually.

In the process of searching for a suitable program, I read reviews. And I discovered that these types of homegrown programs are prime opportunities for malware. Some of these programs did work and they did, in fact, move music files. However, in addition to completing their intended purpose, they also randomly served pop-up ads and place advertisements on websites where they didn't belong.

Malware represents itself as one thing and then works in the background of your computer to accomplish another task: usually advertisements or data mining. Malware slows down your computer and takes away resources from other tasks.

How Can You Identify Malware In Advance?

You can't always identify malware easily, but there are a few steps you can take as precaution.

  • Buy/download software from reputable companies (names you've heard of before!)
  • Read multiple reviews from multiple sources before buying a new program or app
  • Never buy or download anything from Bit Torrent
  • Read the fine print: the terms of use or privacy information may hint at the ulterior motives

Think you already have malware on your machine? Here's how we recommend removing malware.

About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at ShorewoodStudio.com.

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