What is it?
The word 'malware' is a shortened form of 'malicious software' and refers to any software designed to surreptitiously infect a computer, often with the intent of performing illegal tasks such as stealing passwords, sending spam messages or launching attacks against computer networks.
How does it work?
Malware is commonly spread through infected email attachments or on infected websites, and attacks computers that have insufficient anti-malware software installed (usually called anti-virus software). It can also be spread on infected USB drives. Owners of infected systems may not even realise that their machine has been compromised.
Why is malware useful?
It is only useful for the conduct of deceitful or illegal activity.
What do you need to keep in mind if your children's computer is compromised by malware?
It is important to educate children on how to avoid becoming infected in the first place, such as not opening suspect email attachments and only visiting legitimate websites. Any infected machine should immediately be disconnected from the internet. Many forms of malware can be removed by installing commercially-available anti-virus software. A better strategy is to ensure that you have anti-malware software installed from the moment you connect your computer to the internet and ensure that it is kept up-to-date.