Tjaden, Brett Department of Computer Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
- Motivations for malware
- Types of malware
- Parasitic malware
- Defending against malware
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Malware, a contraction of the phrase “malicious software,” is computer code that intentionally performs actions that are harmful. There are many different types of malware, and, as we become more reliant on information systems in our day-to-day lives, the danger posed by malware will continue to grow. An estimate from the June 2011 Consumer Reports put the economic cost of malware to consumers at $2.3 billion in 2010. The Stuxnet worm in 2010 demonstrated that malware can harm not only computer systems and networks, but also real-world devices and, potentially, people. It is possible that one day malware will be responsible for the death of a human being (and perhaps many human beings). An ongoing race pits those who create malware against those who defend against it. Each time the defenders invent a new way to counteract a particular class of malware, the malware creators adapt their code to circumvent the new defenses and the cycle continues.
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