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Malware, short for malicious software, is any software specifically designed to harm, exploit, or compromise computer systems, networks, or user data. Malware is a broad term that encompasses various types of harmful software, including viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, and more.
Viruses: Viruses are self-replicating programs that attach themselves to legitimate files and spread when those files are executed. They can cause damage to files and can be distributed through infected files or software.
Worms: Worms are self-replicating and self-propagating programs that can spread across networks and the internet without any human interaction. They often exploit vulnerabilities in software or operating systems.
Trojans: Trojans, short for Trojan horses, are disguised as legitimate software but contain malicious code. They rely on social engineering to trick users into running them.
Spyware: Spyware is designed to gather information about a user's activities, such as browsing habits and personal information, without their knowledge or consent. It can be used for advertising, tracking, or more malicious purposes.
Adware: Adware displays unwanted advertisements, often in the form of pop-ups or banners, with the aim of generating revenue for the malware creator.
Ransomware: Ransomware encrypts a user's files and demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. It's a type of extortion and can be financially devastating for victims.
Rootkits: Rootkits are designed to hide malicious software on a system or grant unauthorized access to an attacker. They can be used for stealthy and persistent attacks.
If you have specific concerns about malware or security, it's recommended to use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to scan and protect your devices and to follow best security practices when using the internet. Additionally, you can refer to Google's official security resources and documentation for the latest information on their security services and tools.