Programmes designed to harm users and their devices

How do they work?

Malware (a compound word derived from “malicious” and “software”) are programmes that are placed inside any kind of items (attachments, photos, videos, etc.) and are designed to harm users and their devices, gain unauthorised access and steal or damage data. They can be sent over the internet, by email or physically installed via USB sticks, memory cards and DVDs. However, they can also exploit websites that have been hacked, video game demos, music files, toolbars, software, free subscriptions, or any other material downloaded from the Internet on devices without antivirus protection.


  • Noticeably slow computer performance is often a sign of infection.
  • An infected device will frequently show pop-ups, receive spam messages and crash.

What can you do about a malware infection?

  • Install a reliable antivirus programme on your devices and keep it constantly updated: antiviruses can detect threats and identify and block malware before they can do damage.
  • Scan your devices regularly.
  • Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders, because this is the most common way of transmitting viruses.
  • Be careful with emails you receive from friends; their device may have been infected without their knowing.
  • Be careful while browsing the Internet: viruses can also be released from infected web websites, so avoid high-risk websites and activities, such as pornography, illegal downloads, online gaming, etc.