In the field of computing we can find many important terms, one to which we must pay special attention is malware . Malicious software that has the ability to enter computer systems to perform a series of hidden activities within them that can range from sabotage of the system to theft of confidential data .

What is a malware?

Malware is a type of malicious software or program that aims to damage devices , steal data and generate many problems. They are created by hackers who only try to get money although they have also been used as a means of protest .

  • Definition of malware
  • Characteristics
  • Source
  • Story
  • What is it for
  • How does it work
  • Types
  • What damage do they cause
  • Malware on Android mobiles
  • Malware on iPhone
  • Main sources of malware
  • How to avoid malware
  • How to detect it
  • How to remove malware
  • Featured examples
  • Recommended antimalware

Definition of malware

The term malware is a word that is used to give a term to all kinds of software whose sole purpose is to be able to infiltrate inside a computer or a device in order to cause damage , to change the functions of the computers, to take the absolute control over it or to steal information . It is an abbreviation of the English word ” malicious software ” or malicious software.


Among its main characteristics are the following:

  • They can enter and affect a computer or mobile device .
  • Its access is done through downloads , connections with other devices or through the execution of a file that is infected.
  • They are housed within RAM .
  • They are very difficult to remove .
  • They have the ability to run every time the computer or cell phone is used.
  • It manages to access the main files , until it finally affects the hard disk .
  • It is a type of computer virus .


Malware originates from the 1980s when personal computers became more popular in the world. It probably only started as a joke, however, there was no awareness of the damage that malware could cause.


The history of malware begins in 1971 with Robert Thomas , a BBN Technologies engineer who created the Creeper virus , which he used to infect a series of servers called ARPANET . In reality, this virus was not created with the aim of causing damage or encrypting data, it could only move through the servers emitting a message that said “I am a creeper” .

A short time later, Ray Tomlinson was able to get the malware to reproduce itself by starting the first worm . This is how malware also reached the technology industry and in 1980 a large number of worms and viruses were created that had the ability to infect personal computers. At that time there was no internet so the infection was carried out through floppy disks . The first viruses were created to affect Apple II and Macintosh , later they also infected IBM and MS-DOS.

What is it for

Malware is used to access a device through the internet through an infected file or when accessing a website that has been previously hacked . It is a mechanism through which you can have access to all the confidential data that a company or a private person has in order to profit from them.

How does it work

Malware works by entering the computer or cell phone through downloads , infected files or by visiting a page that has been hacked . When suspicious files are downloaded, mainly those with an .exe, .com, .app or .bin extension , the malware has the ability to enter the computer, infect the files that are in it, steal information and block all types of activity until the user has not paid a certain sum of money.


The term malware is quite broad and this includes several types which vary in their operation and in the damage they can cause. Some of the types of malware are as follows:

  • Viruses : they adhere to files, infecting others and spread through computers very easily, damaging several of the essential functions of the system. They can be found as executable files: (.exe).
  • Trojans : This type of malware pretends to be legitimate software or can be hidden as such. Its way of acting is quite discreet and has the ability to create a series of doors in the security of the device so that other types of malware can be allowed access.
  • Spyware : their purpose is to be able to spy by taking notes and information related to passwords, number of bank cards and browsing history.
  • Worms : these have the great ability to infect entire networks of devices through the use of the network interface . They use the computers that they have managed to infect to be able to attack others.
  • Ramsomware : in this case, the malware acts by blocking the entire computer as well as the files that are in it, threatening to erase all the information if a type of ransom is not paid.
  • Adware : although this type of malware is not malicious in nature, it can affect the security of the device and does so in order to display a large number of advertisements. They are what we generally know as pop-up windows, which can be quite annoying for the user.
  • Botnets : these malware are a type of network that affects computers by forcing them to work under the order of an attacker.
  • Keyloggers : they have the ability to steal passwords secretly and then send them to an anonymous requester.

What damage do they cause

Some of the damages that malware can cause are mentioned below:

  • Information theft
  • Slowness in the programs.
  • Ads in large numbers that cannot be stopped.
  • RAM memory consumption causing poor computer performance.
  • Appearance of strange messages when the applications are running.
  • Unusual activities in emails .
  • Appearance of pop-up windows that tell you that you must download a specific application to remove the virus.

Malware on Android mobiles

Android phones can also be victims of malware and when infected they can suffer a great deal of damage. The main attackers on these devices are phishing websites, fake apps, and stores where people often download unofficial content and apps.

Malware on iPhone

In the case of iPhone, malware is not so common because its completely closed system does not allow the user to download applications from anywhere other than their store. One of the main reasons they are less prone to malware attacks is that hackers and cybercriminals will always find the easiest way to install corrupted programs.

Main sources of malware

Among the main sources of malware we find the following:

  • Websites that have been previously hacked.
  • Files that are received and that are infected.
  • Emails.
  • Web navegation.
  • Software downloads from unreliable sites.
  • Installation of programs or applications that come from unofficial sites.

How to avoid malware

One of the best ways to avoid the presence of malware on computers is to never trust strangers on the internet , this involves unknown emails , fake profiles and offers that often seem very tempting. When downloading a program, especially if it is done through piracy , it is important to check first that the provider is trustworthy, for them, you can search for reviews and comments.

Having an ad blocker is very effective as many hackers use pop-up ads to infect devices. You must also be very careful when visiting Internet pages , especially those places that have little security on their servers. The best thing is always to have good antimalware software , one that is reliable and very powerful before the malware can infect your pc or mobile device.

How to detect it

Some types of malware are very easy to detect because they can make their presence known almost immediately, for example, by broadcasting ads without stopping. Some others like Trojans and spyware can hide quite well for a long time. The only sure way to detect malware is through the installation of antimalware software which includes a series of useful tools and analysis processes that can detect the presence of malware on the computer, in addition, they have the ability to block the problem.

How to remove malware

All malware has a certain shape in order to be eliminated. One of the best ways is with the use of malware removal tools , many of which can even be found for free.

Featured examples

Some prominent examples of malware that have been created are mentioned below:

  • CryptoLocker
  • Back Orifice
  • MyDoom

Recommended antimalware

Some of the best antimalware out there today are:

  • Avast
  • Ad-Aware
  • Avira
  • ESET
  • Norton Antivirus
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Bitdefender

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