What does malware refer to in computer security?

A) Malicious software designed to harm or infiltrate a computer system
B) A type of computer hardware
C) A music streaming service
D) A virtual reality headset

Show Answer

A) Malicious software designed to harm or infiltrate a computer system

Malware, short for “malicious software,” refers to any software specifically designed to harm, exploit, or compromise computer systems, networks, and data without the consent or knowledge of the user. Malware is a broad category that encompasses various types of harmful software, each with its own purpose and methods of operation. Some common types of malware include:

  1. Viruses: Viruses are programs that attach themselves to legitimate files or programs and spread when those files are executed. They can cause a wide range of problems, from data corruption to system crashes.
  2. Trojans: Trojans, short for “Trojan horses,” are disguised as legitimate software or files. Once executed, they perform malicious actions, such as stealing sensitive data or creating backdoors for hackers.
  3. Worms: Worms are self-replicating malware that spread across networks or systems without any user interaction. They can consume network resources, slow down systems, and deliver payloads.
  4. Ransomware: Ransomware encrypts a victim’s files or entire system and demands a ransom in exchange for a decryption key. It can cause significant data loss and financial damage.
  5. Spyware: Spyware secretly monitors and collects information about a user’s activities, often without their knowledge. It can capture sensitive data like login credentials and personal information.
  6. Adware: Adware is software that displays unwanted advertisements or redirects users to advertising websites. While not as malicious as other types of malware, it can be annoying and invasive.
  7. Keyloggers: Keyloggers record keystrokes on a computer or mobile device, capturing sensitive information like login credentials and credit card numbers.
  8. Botnets: Botnets consist of compromised computers or devices controlled by a remote attacker. They can be used for various malicious purposes, such as launching DDoS attacks or sending spam emails.
  9. Rootkits: Rootkits are designed to hide malicious processes and activities from detection. They often infect the core components of an operating system, making them difficult to remove.
  10. Backdoors: Backdoors provide unauthorized access to a compromised system, allowing attackers to control it remotely. They are often used to maintain access for future attacks.
  11. Logic Bombs: Logic bombs are malware that remains dormant until triggered by a specific event or condition, such as a particular date or action.

Malware can be distributed through various means, including email attachments, malicious websites, software downloads, infected USB drives, and more. It poses a significant threat to the security and privacy of computer systems, and combatting malware involves using antivirus software, firewalls, security patches, and user education to reduce the risk of infection and its potential impact.

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