A commonly-used name for computer viruses is "Malware". Viruses are used in computer networks in order to propagate a certain type of malicious software. They may take the form of files, executable programs, utilities, data, or more complicated programs that perform a variety of tasks, such as manipulating computer files, visiting websites, sending e-mail, or even installing themselves in applications.

Today, viruses have become a common phenomenon, not just on computers, but also on smartphones and other electronic devices. Infected mobile devices have even been known to present their own threats to the operating system. Because of the widespread use of computers and other related technology, it is not surprising that viruses have become prevalent in almost every field of human life.

A computer virus is often characterized by creating files, programs, and registry entries in a computer that are meant to cause damage. Common goals of these files are theft or damage to personal or corporate data, or to computer systems. The malicious code itself is stored either on a computer's hard drive or on the device in which the virus was originally loaded onto the computer.

Viruses can be classified by the amount of damage they do, or the ways in which they damage systems. A virus is either a Trojan horse virus, which is a file used to get into a computer system. Trojans may pose as another type of software, but are actually Trojan horses, and are generally downloaded by criminals as part of an attack.

There are many different types of viruses and different types of anti-virus software, with virus protection from different sources ranging from a dedicated piece of software to a standard anti-virus app, with more and more people depending on dedicated software to protect their computer and phone from viruses. Some viruses can be very harmless and only cause minor inconveniences, while others can cause serious problems for the computer and other devices they infect.

Malware, mobile malware, and "APT" (advanced persistent threat) are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they should not be confused. Malware is malicious code that gets on a computer, and the malware can be called an exploit. Mobile malware can only be called malware if it’s written for a phone, and APT refers to spyware or malware that’s implanted onto a company’s network.



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