Malware, Viruses, Adware, and Spyware. What’s the Difference?

October 13, 2014

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b2ap3_thumbnail_malware_information.jpgTechnically the difference between malware and a virus is merely linguistic. Viruses, adware, and spyware are all examples of different types of malicious software that are referred to as malware. It describes a specific type of software code that is meant to infect a computer, tablet, or mobile device with a third party software. Malware changes the behavior of the device to make it perform actions without the users control or consent such as to steal passwords, send spam emails, or track keystrokes.

Here are four types of malware that all computer users should be cognizant of:

  • Virus – A malware program thats when executed, launch from an infected program or infected disk. Much like a virus in nature, computer viruses replicate themselves and infect new programs or disks. Viruses are declining in popularity because hackers have found more potent and cost-effective way to infect computers.
  • Worms – Worms are similar to viruses but they don’t require the user to launch an infected program. Worms copy themselves to other computers then launch another copy and the cycle continues.
  • Adware – Adware is software that installs itself on your computer or browser and displays ads when you connect to the computer. Adware is usually financially supported in some form or another.
  • Spyware – Spyware is malicious software that sits on your computer and gathers information such as websites visited, browser and system information, and your IP address. It takes this information and sends it back to interested parties.

A study done by McAfee revealed that global cybercrime activity is costing businesses in excess of $500 billion a year. In the United States alone, cybercrime has cost an estimated 500,000 jobs as companies cope with the loss of revenues and intellectual property. Programs such as Malwarebytes and Vipre Antivirus can help save a company time, money, and efficiency by protecting against such attacks.

For more information about malware and the best ways to protect yourself to marginalize the threat of an infection, call us today at (610) 828- 5500. Our certified IT professionals can provide you and your employees the level of expert advice you’d expect from your AREASERVED IT leader.

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