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Bad Computer Programs - Virus, Malware, Spyware

Updated on February 29, 2020

Chances are, if you've ever surfed webpages on the Internet, you may at one time have been afflicted with malicious software programs and/or viruses. Firewalls, antivirus programs, spyware scanners, all of these tools may be used to prevent and treat harmful data which insinuates itself onto your computer. Just what is the deal with these things anyway? Do you know the difference between malware and a worm? A trojan and spyware? Keep reading, you're about to learn all you need to know.

Viruses

They're insidious little programs which can infect the entirety of your hard drive. Commonly mistaken for malware, a virus is a program which copies itself onto your computer. Unlike other malicious programs, a virus can only spread if you transfer infected files between computers. In the same fashion that a bodily infection can spread from, say, your nasal passages and down into your throat, so too can a computer virus infect every folder of data on your computer.

Trojans

Aptly named in reference to the Trojan Horse, this type of malware is hidden within otherwise useful programs and uses these 'safe' programs to gain entry into your files. From there, a Trojan can perform any number of malicious activities, from erasing data to corrupting files, or even creating endless loops of data to overload your processor.

Spyware and Malware

Spyware is insidious stuff. This form of malicious program is a data collection program designed to retrieve and log your Internet usage, web site visits and other information about your web browsing habits and then reports this back to it's source. Spyware slows down your connection, bogging your browser down with constant communication to it's host. You can get spyware most commonly from freeware/shareware downloads, and this type of program is widely spread in any of it's various forms when you use programs like LimeWire, Kazaa, Bearshare, or any other file sharing service like those.

Malware, on the other hand, is the umbrella term which refers to any process or program which can corrupt files, secretly report your information, or any virus, worm or trojan. Also under this umbrella stands any software program that attempts to reinstall itself after you've uninstalled it, as well as hardware or firmware which adversely affects your computer's safety or performance.

Worms

No, we're not talking about the wriggling things in your garden. This is a very dangerous type of malware, because a worm does not require any download or unusual action on the part of the computer user to spread. A worm insinuates itself into any system or computer network, often through popular programs, and spreads on it's own from there. This self-contained malware copies itself on each new system, endlessly recreating its core files.

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    • profile image

      scottyboy 

      8 years ago

      the best programs are avast and spybot search and destroy

    • profile image

      askpowers 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such information. Mostly people misunderstood the viruses and spy-wares. Well, still i am confused to which service should I use for the computer security. AVG runs efficiently on my computer, but other antiviruses make my computer very slow. I am worried about the security issues.

    • gamergirl profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiz Robinson 

      12 years ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Stacie and Whitney,

      That's nothing! I had a virus on my laptop so bad one time that the only thing I could do was completely reformat the hard-drive!

      WC,

      Now -THAT- is funny!

    • WeddingConsultant profile image

      WeddingConsultant 

      12 years ago from DC Metro Area

      gamergirl, I've got some malicious software that I'd like to shed light on. Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more popular today. In fact, home computers as well as business computers are getting it.

      It is known as Windows Vista and it seems to infect everything on the computer. It is so bad, that it sometimes leads to headaches and stomach pains in the lives of the actual people using the infected computers...

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 

      12 years ago from Georgia

      My dad had a worm in his server way back when he had his own business. He just got the bad virus on one of the home computers a few months back. He'd get rid of it, restart the computer, and it'd be back. He had to buy another harddrive and Vista because he couldn't get rid of it. He tried nonstop for over a month. He bought 2 sypware programs and a register key. There was already McAfee on the computer, but it didn't catch it. McAfee's been kinda slack on my laptop lately; I put a free sypware plus the 2 my dad bought and the registry key. What one doesn't catch another will.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      12 years ago from Seattle

      The Trojan got my computer at work last month. It totally sucked, but our IT people said it is normal for this stuff to happen in a college setting where a lot of unusual sites are visited for research purposes.

    working

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