As a type of cyber attack, malware (“malicious software”) is an umbrella term that describes any malicious program or code that is harmful to systems. Hostile, intrusive, and intentionally nasty, malware seeks to invade, damage, or disable computers, computer systems, networks, tablets, and mobile devices, often by taking partial control over a device’s operations. Like the human flu, it interferes with normal functioning.
Although malware cannot damage the physical hardware of systems or network equipment, it can steal, encrypt, or delete your data, alter or hijack core computer functions, and spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or permission.
View Cybersecurity Glossary | View next term