The term malware (short for malicious software) is the collective name for any harmful or damaging software, often designed for criminal purposes. It disrupts and manipulates normal computer operation to steal information and facilitate fraud.
Malware can often surreptitiously install itself on your computer without you noticing, usually when you open an infected attachment to an e-mail or open a link to an infected website.
Criminals are increasingly turning to banking malware, computer viruses specifically written to dupe people banking online. Fraudulent payment orders are submitted or confidential information is stolen without you noticing.
Certain types of malware, known as ransomware, encrypt your files. Next, you’re asked to pay a ransom to have them released.