mal·​ware | \ ˈmal-ˌwer How to pronounce malware (audio) \

Definition of malware

: software designed to interfere with a computer's normal functioning

Examples of malware in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For example, hackers can intercept information (i.e., a man-in-the-middle attack) or distribute malware if file-sharing across a network is allowed. Max Yarchevsky, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 One such vulnerability can enable hackers to gain higher-level privileges on a system or network, which can be used to steal data and install malware. Nir Kshetri, The Conversation, 15 Sep. 2021 Once a person reaches the call center, they are directed to a fake company website and led through steps that install dangerous malware on their computers, Rokita said. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 9 Aug. 2021 The hackers were able to steal emails and install malware to continue surveillance of their targets. New York Times, 19 July 2021 Update mechanisms are valuable targets for attackers, because they can be tainted to distribute malware. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 24 June 2021 In December, SolarWinds (a U.S.-based company) acknowledged it had been compromised by hackers who infiltrated the company's Orion software updates in order to distribute malware to its customers' computers. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 15 Apr. 2021 In a case that’s further developed, Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov of Russia pled guilty to trying to bribe a Tesla employee to install malware on the company’s network. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2021 At the time, however, the attackers weren’t actually trying to exploit the vulnerability to install malware but instead only to test if a server was vulnerable. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 1 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malware.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of malware

1990, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for malware

malicious + -ware (as in software)

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Time Traveler for malware

Time Traveler

The first known use of malware was in 1990

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Dictionary Entries Near malware

mal vu



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Statistics for malware

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malware.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for malware


mal·​ware | \ ˈmal-ˌwer How to pronounce malware (audio) \

Legal Definition of malware

: software that is designed to interfere with a computer's normal functioning and that can be used to commit cybercrime (as by revealing passwords, PINs, and other sensitive data)

History and Etymology for malware

mal- bad + software

More from Merriam-Webster on malware

Nglish: Translation of malware for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of malware for Arabic Speakers


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