The following information is compliments of True North Networks
The term malware translates quite literally to “malicious software.” It’s an all-encompassing term that includes viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, adware, and generally any software that is used to obtain sensitive information without a user’s consent. Malware disrupts computer systems in a variety of ways, such as by restricting access, encrypting files, corrupting data, stealing personal information, or slowing the system down.
Malware can enter a system through downloads, email attachments, advertisements, or any type of hole in the security of the system. After an infection occurs, a system shows signs of the attack and is recovered in different ways, depending on the type of infection. For example, ransomware will display a message demanding a sum of money, and spyware will live in your files, possibly without ever being noticed.
Also, be aware of any present threats. A great resource of this is the SOPHOS threat monitoring dashboard that displays what malware is currently active, and Kaspersky’s Threat Post blog provides easy-to-undersantd explanations about a variety of threats.