Skip to main content 
Main Content



Malware, indicating malicious content, includes viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, or any other software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system, steal personal information, and commit fraud.

There are several easy ways you can minimize malware risk:

  • Never download a file or attachment unless you are absolutely certain what it is and who sent it.
  • Never click on an advertisement asking for personal or financial information.
  • Update your security and system software to protect your computer from these threats.



Viruses are harmful programs transmitted in numerous ways. Although they differ, they're designed to spread themselves from one computer to another through the Internet and cause havoc. Most commonly, they give the criminals access to infected machines.



The terms spyware and adware apply to several different technologies. Two important things to know about them are:

  • They can download themselves onto your computer without your permission (typically when you visit an unsafe Web site or click on an attachment).
  • They often make your machine do things you don't want it to do. This might be as simple as opening a pop-up ad or as complicated and nefarious as tracking your online movements, stealing your passwords, and compromising your accounts.


Trojan Horses

A Trojan horse is a harmful code contained inside what would otherwise be harmless programming or data. The horse takes control and does its chosen form of damage, such as ruining the file allocation table on your hard disk. In one celebrated case, the Trojan was a program that was supposed to find and destroy computer viruses.