Computer Virus, Malware, Spyware and Adware: Whats the Difference?
Viruses, spyware, and adware are all malware with distinct differences. All of them do damage to legitimate computer users but they fall into different categories depending on the intent of their attack.
Viruses are a bit of malicious code that is secretly included in an application you decide to download. It replicates itself to infect other computers. Eventually, the virus is activated for its purpose: deleting important files, corrupting information, or randomly shutting off your computer.
Spyware is malicious software that gets installed without the user even knowing about it. This is usually the most dangerous form of attack. It invades your internet security to find sensitive information from your computer and sell it for a price on the black market.
Adware, on the other hand, is a unique form of software specifically written to produce popup ads. The popups can start as the user uses a certain application, when they visit a particular website online, or simply as soon as they boot up their computer. The most deceptive form of adware shows a popup telling the user their computer is infected and that they need to install antivirus software.
Computers and the internet are now almost a necessity in every day life. We email and chat with friends and family far away. We watch our favorite shows or how to videos to troubleshoot a problem. A lot of us even bank or shop online.
Whenever youve connected to the internet, you are opening up your private information to the world. Once online, computer viruses and malware find ways to infect your computer without your knowledge. Antivirus software provides the best virus protection and will remove any malware found on your computer.
You might already know that Microsoft Windows includes a basic form of antivirus. If you have Microsoft Windows 7 or earlier, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials, which will provide some basic protection against viruses, spyware and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials are upgraded and renamed to Windows Defender in Microsoft Windows 8 and later. For example, the standard antivirus for Windows 10 is Windows Defender.
The bottom line is that Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender are free and does a reasonable job. But being free has limitations too. Support is limited (if any at all) and might not catch the very latest cyber threats. If the files on your computer are important (e.g. work documents, cherish family pictures, etc) we recommend that you pay for the best antivirus software. That way youll get the up-to-date protection to keep you safe.
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Best Antivirus Software, Internet Security & Malware Removal