The online security ecosystem is a fascinating area of computing, though it does have its own share of jargon, which terminologies will appear to the non-techie individuals as mere gibberish.
Such terminologies as spyware, adware, and malware can be really confusing, so it behooves us to break them down a bit, so that our non-techie readers can understand which is which, and what every specific term actually means. While many online surfer, take the term virus as generalized dangerous software on any computer, but not all the malicious software are viruses, as each has its own different characteristics.
Anyone using an Internet connected PC must have encountered a form of these dangerous software programs, either via file sharing with other online users or through streaming movies and music online, as such portals are where malicious actors come to play.
What is a Malware and how does it affect Computers and Smartphones?
Malware is often confused with a virus, mostly they have malicious intents against the interest of the computer user rather than to cause harm to the system. It may include Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, and adware, among others, which are all geared at stealing users personal information or data, while spying on their online activities.
For instance, there was a time Sony shipped Compact discs with rootkit silently installed on users' PCs with the sole intent of preventing illicit sharing or copying; but it also spied on users' listening habits, which created extra security vulnerabilities.
What is a Virus?
Virus is a program that replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting own code, with the affected system said to have been "infected" - which means that the effect is mainly on the system, and it often employ complex stealth strategies to evade detection by antivirus software.
It is often mistaken as malware, but the later encompasses malicious programs such as computer worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and rootkits; also including malicious Browser Helper Object (BHOs), among others.
Though malware are less harmful to computer systems, protection against it is necessary to prevent data loss and hackers gaining access to your computer. For this purpose, there are several antivirus software, firewalls and other strategies that can be used to help protect against the infiltration of malware.
Additionally, it is recommended to always check for the presence of malware or any malicious activity on your PCs and smartphone, as recovering from such attacks can be a herculean task.