Malware is usually installed from browsing around web sites although it can also be delivered via email. It usually needs be installed consciously, ie 'Click here to install Yahoo search into your toolbar' or 'Click here to install our AntiVirus software' are the more honest methods but it can also be secreted in a download link or as an email attachment. Malware is usually (but not always) harmless, being more of an irritant in making your web browser do things that you didn't actually ask it to do - using a non standard search engine for instance. Malware sweeps should be done regularly of course. Not all Malware is harmless, Ransomware attacks and keystroke recorders are both forms of Malware. The name is derived from the term 'Malicious Software' and is an umbrella for a variety of different types of intrusive software including viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, Spyware and Adware. Usually easily removed by using tools freely available on the internet (Malware Bytes for instance)

Further info can be found from the following links;

Wikipedia - Malware

Malware Bytes - Removal Software


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