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It is an auto-executable application that can activate itself and take on various forms, including Java Applets, ActiveX controls, pushed content, plug-ins, scripting languages or other programming languages that are designed to enhance Web pages and email.

The code gives a cybercriminal unauthorized remote access to the attacked system — called an application back door — which then exposes sensitive company data. By unleashing it, cybercriminals can even wipe out a computer's data or install spyware. These threats can reach a high level: The U.S. Government Accountability Office has even warned about the threat of malicious code against national security.

Different Types of Malicious Code

Scripts, worms and viruses can harm your computer by finding entry points that lead to your precious data. Visiting infected websites or clicking on a bad email link or attachment are major gateways for malicious code to sneak its way into your system. Antivirus software that features automatic updates, malware removal capabilities, Web-browsing security and the capability to detect all types of infections are the best defense.

Some common types of malicious code are:

  • Worms
  • Computer Viruses
  • Trojan Horses
  • Bots
  • Spyware / Adware
  • Ransomware

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