Malware, also known as malicious software is an umbrella term that encompasses any malicious program or file that attempts to harm your computer, often by taking partial control over a device’s operation.

There are a number of different types of malware, and these can be explained individually in more thorough detail.

The first of these is ransomware, which is designed to stop you from accessing areas of your PC. It can prevent you from accessing files by encrypting them. They will generally demand that you pay money for a key to decrypt your files. This key is often the only way of recovering your files (unless you have a backup) until security researchers manage to reverse the encryption and release this to the public.

A 'Trojan horse’ disguises itself as a legitimate application. They are notorious for stealing passwords, but they can also delete files and allow the malicious actor access to your device. This type of malware is spread from devices by their ‘apparent’ usefulness.

A virus is a segment of code that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge. They can attach themselves to specific sections of a computer that are activated when a program is first executed and damage your computer with the injected code.

To combat the threat of malware infecting your device, opt for an anti-virus as your defence and ensure the following:

l It is compatible with your operating system.

l The software is from a reputable source

l It provides regular updates to protect against the latest malware threats.

Your computer could be infected with malware if your device encounters any of the following:

l Your computer slows down significantly;

l Your device crashes, freezes or displays a blue screen.

l Unexpected loss of disk space.