What is a malicious website?

A malicious website is a site that attempts to install malware (a general term for anything that will disrupt computer operation, gather your personal information or, in a worst-case scenario, gain total access to your machine) onto your device. This usually requires some action on your part, however, in the case of a drive-by download, the website will attempt to install software on your computer without asking for permission first.

What’s more, malicious websites often look like legitimate websites. Sometimes they will ask you to install software that your computer appears to need. For example, a video website might ask you to install a codec, which is a small piece of information a video player needs to run on a website. You might be used to installing safe codecs, but it only takes one unsafe installation to compromise your machine, and your sensitive information along with it. Similarly, the website might ask for permission to install one program, but install a completely different one — one that you definitely do not want on your computer.

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