What is Malware and Why is it Made?

Malware is a common problem for both home and business computer users, and one that must be understood in order to overcome it. The potential damage that malware can cause may be costly or lead to the loss of important files, and yet it can be easily prevented.

Malware is an umbrella term that encompasses any and all of the ‘bad’ software that can find its way onto your computer. It includes viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, key loggers and anything else that can be used to in some way steal your information or damage your computer. It is almost always unintentionally installed on your machine, having been bundled with a video or some other piece of software.

There are a number of reasons that malware is made by its creators. Generally it is intended in some way to make money for the creator, which it may do indirectly through helping other malware creators distribute their wares or by signing you up for premium rate services. Alternatively it may make money directly by stealing your banking information, logging the keys that you tap as you enter your password so that the would-be thieves can later get into your bank account and steal your money.

Some malware will recruit your computer to a botnet, or it may aim to simply cause damage to your machine. This can be achieved by deleting or corrupting files, ultimately resulting in your computer no longer running. Removing the malware and repairing the damage it causes may be easy, or may take a very skilled hand in order to get it right, making it better to avoid it in the first place if at all possible.

There are a number of options available for home computer users, some of which are completely free and others of which may need to be purchased. They can be bought in stores or downloaded online.

For business users a paid anti-malware option is normally required. This is because the terms of the license that free anti-malware software are provided with only cover it for use by individual, home users. In short, the companies make their software free for individuals but not for businesses.

On the plus side, the paid for commercial anti-malware software, and even the paid versions of the free software tend to be somewhat more powerful than the free versions. Free versions may require the user to update the database manually where as the paid versions do it automatically, or the paid version may offer a complete suite of anti-malware tools with the free versions offering only anti-virus controls. The changes in features will differ between the various programs.

The variety of malware that is circulating on the internet today is huge, and it serves a wide variety of purposes. The one thing it all has in common though is that none of it serves a useful purpose for the victim and in fact in many cases can be very damaging. Anti-malware programs when combined with a good firewall are very effective ways of ensuring that you don’t fall victim to these threats.

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