Malware is a broad, all-encompassing term for any program that tries to damage your PC. The name is short for ‘malicious software’, and they can cause all sorts of security threats and performance problems on your computer.
For example, some forms of malware may attempt to steal your information by accessing your bank records, password settings, and whatever other sensitive information you hold on your computer. Others are not a major security threat, and could simply generate annoying pop-ups.
Browser viruses, like toolbars and malicious cookies, can also be classified as malware. While a toolbar may seem innocent, it could be sending your browsing information to an advertising agency, or hacking network. Other forms of malware may automatically direct your search engine towards malicious websites, which will then install more malware onto your computer, or immediately send out infected messages to all your e-mail or instant messaging contacts.
Or, more advanced forms of malware could turn your PC into one part of a larger network of infected computers. By using your bandwidth and processing speed, for example, hackers can use networks of thousands of computers to host illegal files online, or to decrypt complex codes. These forms of malware may be difficult to detect, and only become noticeable if your internet speeds starts to lag during upload periods.
To prevent malware from infecting your system, it’s best to find a program that can comprehensively secure your entire PC. Many programs, for example, offer antivirus protection in addition to browser security features. By investing in one of these programs today, you are avoiding any potential security threats down the road.

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