What are viruses and malware?
Home learning focus
Learn the basics of computer viruses and malware and practise your typing skills.
This lesson includes:
one video about how malware and virus can affect your device
four activities to try at home
Viruses and malware are programs that can damage digital devices such as phones, tablets, computers or watches.
The following video explores viruses and malware in more detail.
What is malware?
Malware is a program designed to damage your device.
- steal your information
- crash your system
- reboot your device
- slow down your device
- slow down your internet connection
Common types of malware
A virus is a program that gets onto your device usually through an email attachment or fake software update.
You might download and run it by mistake.
It damages other programs and data on the device. It can spread easily and quickly.
Spyware is software that installs itself onto devices and then steals personal information like passwords, email addresses and other important information.
It often does it just by keeping a record of everything the user types, which is called key logging.
Some spyware can even use your webcam without your knowledge.
They damage the device by copying themselves hundreds of times, so they can very quickly slow down your device and others.
For example, they could copy themselves and email everyone in your contacts list.
A trojan horse (or trojan) is a program hidden inside a safe program.
It looks like a safe program but it contains code that damage your device or steal information when it is run.
How can you avoid viruses or malware?
Don't download files unless you trust what they are
If you get an email, don't open it or click on any links unless it is from an address you recognise
Don't run a program if you don’t know where it has come from and haven’t chosen to install it
Install anti-virus software and run regular scans
Did you know?
An email cannot corrupt your device on its own.
Viruses can be hidden in attachments and these could corrupt your system when you run them.
The CBBC Own It app is here to help you be the boss of your online life.
You can find straight answers and get support, and know what to do if you have a problem online.
You can also get tips, knowledge and insider info on all the internet’s secrets.
Now you can try and put some of what you have learned about viruses and malware into action.
Virus and malware flashcards
See if you know the meaning of virus and malware vocabulary with these flashcards from Quizlet.
Dance Mat Typing
Learn to improve your typing speed and accuracy with the Dance Mat Typing game from BBC Bitesize.
There's more to learn
Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.