Malware & Viruses: What’s The Difference?

Malware & Viruses: What’s The Difference?

It is important to understand the difference between malware and viruses.

A virus is actually a type of malware..

Even though the term “virus” is usually used instead of “malware”.

The term “malware” refers to any malicious software, including a computer virus.

Between 2000 and 2005, spyware and adware both emerged as types of malware that antivirus software had to deal with.

Malware is now infecting more computers and mobile devices at an ever increasing pace.

What is a Malware?

Malware is malicious software written specifically to harm and infect the host computer.

Malware includes viruses along with other types of software such as worms, trojan horses, spyware, and adware.

Malware such as ransomware are used to commit financial fraud and extort money from innocent computer users.


Common Types of Malware:

  • Virus:

    A virus is a specific type of malware on it’s own. It is a contagious piece of code that infects the other software on the host computer and spreads itself once it is run. It is mostly known to spread when software is shared between computer users. This can then act more like a parasite.

  • Spyware: 

    This type of malicious software, spies on you and tracks all your internet activities. It helps the hacker in gathering information about the victim’s system, without the consent of the victim. This spyware’s presence is typically hidden from the host and it is very difficult to detect. Some spyware like keyloggers may be installed intentionally in an organization to monitor activities of employees.
  • Adware:

Adware is also known as advertising-supported software. It is software which renders advertisements for the purpose of generating revenue for its author. The adverts are published on the screen presented to the user at the time of installation. Adware is programmed to track which Internet sites, the user visits frequently and to present and feature related advertisements. Not all adware has malicious intent, but it can still become a problem because it affects computer performance and can annoy the user.

  • Worms: 

This type of malware will replicate itself and destroys information and files saved on the host computer. It works by “eating up” all the system operating files and data files on a drive, causing in some cases irreversible damage.

  • Trojan:  

Trojans are a type of virus that are designed to make a user think they are a safe program and run them. They may be programmed to steal personal and financial information, and later take over the resources of the host computer’s system files.  In large systems, it may attempt to make a host system or network resource unavailable to those attempting to reach it. 

  • Ransomware: 

Ransomware is an advanced type of malware that restricts access to the computer system until the user pays a fee.  Your screen might show a pop-up warning that your have been locked out of your computer and that you can access only after paying the cybercriminal. The cybercriminal demands a ransom to be paid in order for the restriction to be removed. The infamous Cryptolocker is one type of ransomware.


It is very difficult to live without computers or mobile devices and we have come to depend on them for many activities – communication, online purchases, and payments, for example.

In order to protect our devices and data against the different types of malware mentioned above, an effective anti-malware solution is required.

Windows Defender is a very effective antivirus and is now  built into Windows 10.

Contact us if you need any help resolving any software or malware issues.

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