What is the Difference Between Malware and a Virus?

Malware, spyware and viruses are used interchangeably when discussing general computer infections. In the last few years, being able to identify for the purpose of removal of a virus or malware requires the correct removal program. Additionally, malware comes in many and varied forms, although slightly different to one another, do the following, damage, corruption or interruption to normal computer use.

Malicious software, the short name is malware and spyware, software designed to spy or gain unauthorized access have many means to infect and cause various forms of damage on a personal computer. Adware, spyware, malware, root kits, key loggers, web hijackers, bandwidth hogging, malicious cookies, are some of the new terms used what we now term as malware.

A virus usually infects a computer and will attempt to corrupt or delete data and also attempt to replicate and deliver copies to other computers, most often through sending copies of itself using an email program address book and sending an infected email to all those listed in an email contacts list.

A Trojan program, also considered a virus, will usually masquerade its harmful effect inside an innocuous file, such as an mp3, a photo, a video, or even text within the body of the email containing an attached file where one is enticed to open to view the internal contents. The result is a user will attempt to open the file, sees what seems to be a broken file (it doesn’t open) yet the user has in fact opened the Trojan and released the virus onto their computer.

Almost all types of infections also have the ability to mask their activity so as to not be picked up by removal software, either commercial or free. They will even go so far to protect themselves by leaving registry keys to regenerate executable files, if the executable file becomes deleted. They will also generate new files in temporary directories and many other areas on a computer so they can recreate themselves if removed especially after a computer restart. In this instance, removal must be done manually, through powering a computer and loading safe mode of windows, and individual deletion of the correct files and registry keys.

There are many free and commercial anti-virus programs, yet most are not very effective at removing malware, fortunately, there are available tools that are designed specifically for the removal of malware.