What is malware?

Malware is short for "malicious software." It includes virusesspyware, and other malicious programs that hackers install on your computer, phone or mobile device without your consent or knowledge.

These programs can cause many different problems on your device, including making it crash completely. Spyware can be used to monitor your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam and commit fraud.

What is spyware?

Spyware is a type of malware that spies on you and gathers information without your permission or knowledge.


Spyware can collect almost any type of data, like internet surfing habits, user logins and bank or credit account credentials. Some spyware can change your computer — installing software, changing settings, redirecting browsers and slowing your internet connection.

How to defend yourself against malware

We highly recommend you install and maintain well-respected antivirus software on your computer to prevent infection. Scan all email attachments with an antivirus program before downloading, even if they come from someone you know. Learn more best practices for internet security.


Do you need antivirus software? McAfee Security is included with your CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service.


CenturyLink's Consumer Internet Protection Program (CIPP) makes it easy for you to clean and secure your computers and network. The CIPP:

  • Notifies you of malware/virus infections on your network
  • Provides resources and tools to help you clean your infected computer
  • Informs you about good internet habits and how to minimize the risks

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