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Malware / Adware / Spyware
Article Reference NumberAA-02048


What is it?

Malware, (short for "Malicious Software") refers to programs installed on your computer without your knowledge, which compromise your security and efficiency. These programs may change your settings, report your information to unwanted parties, display ads, or access your address book and send spam to your friends and colleagues.

Some common types of Malware include:

Adware: programs which display (often misleading or fraudulent) advertisements, sometimes in the form of pop-up or pop-under windows.
Spyware: programs which run on your computer, often undetected, reporting on your internet activity, redirecting your web browser, and installing additional software without your knowledge.
Trojan Horses: program that hides itself by deleting a system file and taking on the system file's name; remote access Trojans (RATs) give attacker(s) remote access of your computer.
Viruses: programs that attach themselves to legitimate programs.
Worms: stand-alone programs that do not attach themselves to other programs. Direct-propagation worms jump directly to computers that have vulnerabilities and then use these computers to jump to others; able to spread very rapidly because no user action is required.
Rootkits: take control of the super user/ administrator account, and can hide malware and go undetected.

There can also be overlap between these different programs. Once your security is compromised, it’s much easier for it to be compromised further.

There are some programs that specifically target malware, and can be used in conjunction with your antivirus software:

If you suspect that your device has been compromised with malware, contact Simmons College Technology at

To see a list of recommended, free antivirus programs, please go to the Service Desk website.

Reviewed on 5/8/2015

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