Short for "malicious software," malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. Common examples of malware include viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware. Viruses, for example, can cause havoc on a computer's hard drive by deleting files or directory information. Spyware can gather data from a user's system without the user knowing it. This can include anything from the Web pages a user visits to personal information, such as credit card numbers. It is unfortunate that there are software programmers out there with malicious intent, but it is good to be aware of the fact. You can install anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities on your computer that will seek and destroy the malicious programs they find on your computer.
Tech Terms Dictionary 2014. Per Christensson. 28 February 2014. <http://www.techterms.com>