What is Malware Software?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Malware or malware software is any type of software product that is designed to remove malicious software from a computer hard drive. There are free and fee based malware removal packages on the market today. While a few can only be obtained by purchasing the software at a retail location, most products of this type can be purchased and downloaded online.

Malware is any malicious software program.
Malware is any malicious software program.

Depending on the scope of the malware software functionality, the program may detect, quarantine, and remove a wide range of infections from a hard drive. It is not unusual for a malware cleaner to locate and remove all sorts of tracking software that is usually downloaded in secret as people browse the Internet. Many versions of this type of software can also find problems with registries, which in turn helps to keep the hard drive running at optimum efficiency. Malware software is often written to also detect the latest viruses and quickly remove or at least quarantine them before they have a chance to proliferate.

Some malware software is downloaded in secret while users are browsing the internet.
Some malware software is downloaded in secret while users are browsing the internet.

While it is possible to purchase malware software, there are several well-respected free products available for online download. In some cases, these free versions are slightly less feature rich versions of fee based software, but still robust enough to provide adequate protection for most home computers. Unlike some antivirus programs, a malware download can usually be completed in a short period of time, even if the individual is using a dialup connection.

When it comes to running a malware scan, most versions offer the user a few options. One option is the “typical” or “basic” scan, which will take a relatively short period to complete and inspects the usual hiding places where spyware and similar bugs tend to infiltrate. An “advanced” or “complete” scan means the malware software will systemically inspect every file on every drive, looking in every conceivable location for any sign of spyware, viruses, or registry errors. Some packages also include a “custom” option that allows the user to scan only a selected portion of the hard drive, such as the C drive only.

When the software detects a problem, many malware software packages will temporarily isolate the suspected intruder during the course of the scan. Once the scan is complete, the end user is able to scan the isolated items and either choose to retain some while cleaning off others, or simply have the software clean everything from the drives. Most versions also maintain a log file of when scans are conducted, what was found, and what was removed.

As with antivirus programs, malware software can be updated from time to time. This helps the software to be able to identify and deal with newly released threats before they have a chance to do any damage. Easy to download and to run, anyone who spends time on the Internet should have malware software installed and running in the background.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I have Malwarebytes' Anti Malware version 1.38 and use it daily. I also have an F-Prot anti virus protection that is up for renewal. Do I need both programs? Will just the Marwarebytes give me max protection? thanks for any help...


Do I need both malware & anti virus protection?

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