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What is malware and how do I stop it?

The term malware refers to a number of different types of malicious software created by cyber-criminals to gain access to your devices and steal personal information or just to cause damage.

Keep reading to find out more about the different types of malware, how it works, and what kinds of damage it can cause to your computer. We've also thrown in some tips on how to avoid it.

Malware typeDetailed information
AdwareCollects marketing data about you without your knowledge, and displays unwanted advertisements on your computer.
SpywareGathers personal and confidential information, which is then shared with others without your consent.
RansomwareAlters your computer system so you're unable to access your files, then demands payment to have your files or computer unlocked.
ScarewareClaims your computer has a virus, then "scares" you to pay for fake antivirus software to remove it.
Keyloggers & Screen ScrapersSecretly records every keystroke and/or your computer screen to steal passwords and other confidential information.
TrojansExposes your personal and confidential information to hackers by opening a "backdoor" to your computer that cyber-criminals can use to access your computer.

Trojans are disguised as a good file or program but is actually bad.
Virus & WormsAttacks through the internet, emails or contaminated files, then automatically replicates itself. Viruses require human action to spread to other computers, whereas worms spread by themselves.

Tips on how to protect your computer from malware:

  • Stay informed and vigilant. Learn about the latest scams, tricks and strategies designed to fool you, such as malicious popups and websites, and phishing emails.
  • Be prepared and proactive. Try Norton Security Online for proactive protection of your computer and mobile devices. It helps block online threats before they strike and alerts you to suspicious activity and websites.
  • Don't delay getting help. If you suspect that your tech devices may have been infected by malware, get help right away. As part of the Yahoo Protect Premium plan, you can get 24/7 live assistance by phone from expert Yahoo Assist tech agents. They'll help you clear things up before major damage happens.