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 Hundreds of millions of accounts are compromised every year in data breaches through phishing, malware and other types of attacks. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "How your passwords can end up for sale on the dark web," 6 May 2020 Tech publication ZDNet reported cybercriminals are bundling malware and viruses into unofficial app installers. Cameron Knight,, "Police warn of Zoom download scam," 30 Apr. 2020 The person claimed to be from Apple and stated that victim’s computer was showing to be infected with malware and needed to be cleaned. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 27 Apr. 2020 In fact, the user was downloading Trickbot malware. NBC News, "Coronavirus scammers are seeking to profit off the deadly virus," 12 Mar. 2020 Not only that, but a reset wipes out most—but not necessarily all—malware and other unwanted programs that may have found their way on to your system. David Nield, Wired, "Reset Your Computer Once a Year for a Happier Life," 8 Mar. 2020 Google has implemented numerous steps to check for malware both before and after apps are installed in order to maintain a high level of security. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "You can finally play Fortnite on your Android phone without side-loading," 22 Apr. 2020 Some even contain malware that could take over a victim's computer. Donie O'sullivan, CNN, "Cybercriminals are trying to cash in on the coronavirus, experts warn," 12 Mar. 2020 All that's needed is surveillance equipment pointed at a computer screen infected with malware. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How to Steal Data from Someone's Computer by Manipulating Screen Brightness," 9 Feb. 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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Statistics for malware

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malware.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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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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