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[mal-wair] /ˈmælˌwɛər/

noun, Computers.
intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation:
tips on finding and removing viruses, spyware, and other malware.
a computer program designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus

software, such as viruses, intended to damage or disable a computer system; short for malicious software; also written mal-ware
Word Origin


1997, from mal- + -ware, from software, etc.
Software that is written and distributed for malicious purposes, such as impairing or destroying computer systems. Computer viruses are malware.
Any software designed to do something that the user would not wish it to do, hasn’t asked it to do, and often has no knowledge of until it’s too late. Types of malware include backdoor, virus, worm, Trojan horse.
Malware typically affects the system on which it is run, e.g. by deleting or corrupting files on the local disks. Since Internet connections became common, malware has increasingly targets remote systems. An early example was malware consisting of a malicious e-mail attachment that targeted security flaws in Microsoft Outlook (the most common e-mail client) to send itself to all the user’s contacts. A more recent kind of malware “recruits” the infected computer to become part of a botnet consisting of thousands of infected computers that can then be remotely controlled and used to launch DDoS attacks.


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