Effects of Malware

by Elizabeth Valentine
Protective software can help reveal and minimize the effects of malware.

Protective software can help reveal and minimize the effects of malware.

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Malicious software, more commonly known as malware, consists of viruses, worms, spyware, adware and other programs that are capable of collecting information without your consent and altering the normal way your digital device functions. Protective software can help minimize unauthorized activity on your computer, but the effects of malware can be divided into four general categories.

Advertising Displays

As an advertising-supported branch of malware, adware can automatically display pop-up advertisements when a user is online or offline. Once your computer is infected, some adware simply renders the unwanted ads while other programs actually monitor a user's site visits and can track information. If pop-up ads frequently appear while you are not accessing the Internet, this is likely the result of malware.

Computer Instability

If infected by a virus or worm, your computer can become unstable. If your computer inexplicably crashes, spontaneously reboots, won't shut down, won't restart or is experiencing other repeated malfunctions, malware can be the cause of such turmoil.

Loss of Privacy

Some malware is designed to create a text log based on your key strokes, which can reveal email addresses and account passwords. These text logs can then be scanned by hackers and used to send email to your contacts. If you have an online account that has been compromised, you may have malware that enabled the process on your computer.

Identity & Financial Theft

Spyware infections can lead to the access of personal information and financial account details, which can then be used to commit identity theft and fraudulent crimes. You may be unaware your information has been leaked until you monitor your financial accounts and see unauthorized behavior.

About the Author

Elizabeth Valentine is an experienced freelance writer. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management and has also worked as a beauty advisor. She has published more than 250 pieces of content at sites such as Associated Content and eHow, having been working in the field of writing since 2007.

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