Malware is a term we use to describe almost any form of software that is evil, annoying, illegal, socially maladjusted, anarchistic or just plain destructive. The name “malware” is simply a contraction of “malicious software.” Many people use the term “virus” as a catchall synonym for malware, but that’s a gross oversimplification. Viruses are just one type of malware.
Unlike some of the topics we’ve covered in this book, malware doesn’t carry anywhere near the same moral impact as other online issues. So why cover it? The short answer is literacy. If you’re going to go where your children go, and participate online with them, you need to possess sufficient insight into some of the annoying dangers of the Internet so you don’t get discouraged before you even get started.