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Malware and Spyware?

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Malware and Spyware?

 

I often see mention being made of malware, but I'm not entirely sure what it is? How is it different from spyware?

 

The definitions I'm about to give below will be very short in nature. It should serve to give you a basic understanding of the differences though. For more information, please go here.

 

Malware refers to any malicious software, of which spyware and viruses are two variants. The software infiltrates, tracks, corrupts or even destroys files and programs on the user's computer without the user's consent.

 

A virus is a program that replicates itself and spreads through a user's computer and "infects" programs or files. When these are opened, a destructive action is triggered, which can result in minor discomfort to the user or total destruction of files and programs, depending on the virus. Often the word "virus" is inaccurately used to refer to other types of malware.

 

Spyware is software that monitors a user's computer on behalf of a third party. This can range from tracking the user's action, to attempting to steal sensitive information (credit card details, etc.), and then sending it to a third party.

 

A worm is a program that has the ability to replicate and send itself through e-mail to other users. Unlike a virus, a worm does not need the user to activate it, but can do so on its own. Typically a worm will not harm the user's computer, but will replicate and send itself to all the addresses in the user's address book, ultimately being able to clog the network and slowing it down or even bringing it to a complete stop.

 

A Trojan Horse is a malicious program that disguises itself so that it looks like a useful piece of software, but when activated, it will unleash a destructive action.

 

Adware is a grey area — it's software that gets imbedded into a program and then displays ads. This is often by consent of the user (when the program is installed), but sometimes the line is crossed into spyware territory.

 

Source: cooltech

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