Malware is a new word created by the tech industry, which describe a certain class of malicious applications that play havoc with our computer systems and mobile devices.

Similar to spyware or adware, malware is a particular type of tool used by cybercriminals to gain access to your computer to make it perform a function that is often aimed at stealing your personal identity.

Protecting our devices and sensitive information against malware attacks is a complex procedure. Going back twenty years, the computer literate could follow pretty simple instructions to delete bots and remove viruses from sub-folders. This has just made the cybercriminals to step up a gear to make advanced malware tools that are becoming harder and harder to detect.

Malware is now designed to hide in seemingly innocent directory folders where they set about creating their own web portals that can devastate your system and even reproduce your data stored in the cloud.

Malware is designed to spread

These viruses will make your PC automatically run through the instructions giving it access to other computers via a network or by attaching to a shared file. Once the infection has set in these file can be corrupted and even erased.

Malware can also attach itself to a device’s processing system much like a parasite.

Browser hijacking malware

These malicious viruses affect the programmes used to access web pages. You can experience browser hijacking in a number of ways:

• You notice your default home page has changed
• Your default search engine has changed without you instructing it to. If your default is Chrome, for example, and suddenly you are redirected to Ask Jeeves, then it is likely that your browser has been burgled.
• There is a sudden appearance of pop-ups
• There is a redirection to web sites unknown to you
• The loading of website pages becomes slower

Adware

The sudden arrival of various kinds of adverts in the form of alerts or pop ups is from the malware family and known as adware. By clicking on these you could be tricked into downloading unwanted programmes or be unaware of the fact that you are bookmarking this or saving it to your favourites.

This type of malware is used to prompt your web browser to display adverts not posted to websites you visit. If your computer has been attacked by malware of this sort. You will be plagued with unwanted pop-ups and alerts whenever you access any website. These will have nothing to do with the subject matter of the site. Adware is not as bad as spyware, but it is still not an ethical practice.

Spyware

Spyware is used to monitor and track your computer activity. Once a pattern has been ascertained your personal information, along with thousand of others, will be sold as a batch of IP address traffic or browser history. Beware, because not only will your files be compromised, images and even webcams can be accessed.

Malicious files

These usually arrive in via your in-box in the form of emails that encourage you to open them. Cyber crooks will lure you in with red flag warnings such as telling you your computer is at risk or emotional, seemingly personal subject matter such as “I am sorry, can you forgive me?”. Opening these can lead to the perpetrators taking over your device.