The differences between Viruses, Worms, Trojans, Spyware and Malware
Nowadays, there are plenty of dangerous software lurking around the internet which can threaten your computer such as virus, malware, worm and a bunch of other threats. However, you may not really know how to differentiate between each and every one of them and probably not on how to deal with them. With the numerous types of security threats it is normally easier to classify everything as virus for ease of identification for a normal user. We will however go a little in depth and reveal the different types of security threats and the ways to avoid as well as to remove it.
Malware is short for malicious software, which is any type of software that endangers your computer, including all the following threats that we are going to reveal below.
This software program can be infected to the computers as long as it is connected. It is commonly accomplished through autorun, system startup, USB drives, internet and some attachments in your email. You should always use a good antivirus program in order to protect virus from spreading through online or when you connect a USB drive.
Spyware can steal information from your computer and send it back to the creator, including credit cards details, website histories, email accounts as well as login credentials just to name a few. We may not realize the infection as it does it work on the background without harming the computer. Basically, you do not need to use additional software against it as most modern antivirus software can protect your computer from this threat as well. For those that are looking for that extra layer of protection, there are many anti-spyware specific software such as Spybot search and destroy, Ad-aware, Super Antispyware and many others.
One of the most threatening threat to a computer is Trojan, which is a malicious code hidden inside another software and can completely take control of your computer. It will secretly connect to malicious server well hidden in the background. If your computer has been infected with Trojan, do not connect to the internet until it is completely cleanse from the threat.
Most basic outbound firewall will be able to scan for a Trojan. However, Windows Firewall is a very basic one. You would be better off to be equipped with advanced firewall like ZoneAlarm and TinyWall.
Trojans are triggered by users as it is not automatically installed like viruses. So, you need to be very careful when executing or installing any programs. You can use Malwarebytes anti-malware tool in order to scan and remove Trojan on the infected machine.
Adwares are actually not harmful but it will serve advertisement on the infected computer, which can be an annoyance. It normally comes with legitimate apps and mostly will be installed as toolbars in your browsers. So, you need to be careful when installing app and keep an eye on the checked items. Removing the toolbars will usually get rid of the adwares, and multi-toolbar remover will get rid of multiple toolbars at once.
Scareware app will pose in your computer as a legitimate app and haunt the user to buy something useless. The most well known disguise is an antivirus software which will require you to buy full version before cleaning your system, while most of the free legitimate antivirus software will not require you to buy a full version to be able to remove virus. Some examples of scareware are Microsoft Security Essentials Pro 2013, Windows Virtual Firewall and Internet Security 2012.
Worms are the most damaging kinds of computer threat. All computers, which are connected in a network can be infected without user intervention and it is possible to destroy your whole network within a few minutes. So, you should disconnect all computers from the network, if one is infected.
The disparity between a worm and a virus is that worm will act from the network and reproduces itself from there, and unlike a virus, it is a standalone program. While viruses can be spread through removable media and attachments, hiding themselves with other programs and run automatically upon the program being executed. Some famous worms include the Iloveyou and conficker worms.
A vulnerability is a weakness in the system that was left in the software by the developer unknowingly and an exploit is like a hack to attack the vulnerability. Every software will be bound to get bugs and security holes no matter how well coded it is. So the best bet is to always stay updated with your software to prevent new exploits. Or you can change to another software which do not have that particular vulnerability.
Staying safe from all threats
- Always update your system and your installed software.
- Always install a good real-time antivirus to protect your system.
- Always set a good firewall for both inbound and outbound traffic. Be careful of traffic from and to your computer via firewall.
- Be careful when opening any websites, links and attachments in email.
- Avoid using pirated software.
- Always backup your computer.