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Malicious code

Malicious code

(also malicious software or malware)

Malicious code definition

An umbrella term for a variety of harmful computer programming scripts designed to cause damage by creating or exploiting system vulnerabilities. Malicious code results in security breaches, information and data theft, and damage to files and systems and may create a backdoor to provide permanent access to networks and devices.

Malicious code types

Malicious code is essentially malware. The most common types of malicious code are:

  • Trojans. Malware that pretends to be something else to get you to install or activate it on your system. Once activated, a trojan allows the attacker to install other types of malware on the device as well.
  • Ransomware. Malware designed to encrypt your files or lock you out of your device. Attackers then demand money in exchange for the encryption key.
  • Adware. Malware designed to make changes to users’ browser home screen and desktop, bombard them with ads, and redirect them to certain websites.
  • Spyware. Malware that secretly observes and records users’ activity, including their passwords, banking details, and emails.
  • Viruses. Once executed by the user, a virus spreads and infects other devices. The damage it does ranges from changing your desktop icons to completely crashing the system.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security