Whats The Difference: Malware vs Virus

Understanding the difference between malware and viruses. The term “Virus” is commonly used to refer to other types of malware. Confused yet? Lets break it down.


“Malware” encompasses computer viruses along with many other forms of malicious software, such as computer “worms”, ransomware, spyware, adware, trojan horses, keyloggers, rootkits, bootkits, malicious Browser Helper Object (BHOs) and other malicious software.*Basically Malware is the term used to describe malicious software.


Viruses often perform some type of harmful activity on infected host computers, such as acquisition of hard disk space or central processing unit (CPU) time, accessing private information (e.g., credit card numbers), corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their e-mail contacts, logging their keystrokes, or even rendering the computer useless. *
A virus is a contagious piece of code that infects the other software on the host system and spreads.

Common Types of Malware

  • Adware
  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Worms
  • Trojan

Also known as advertising supported software. It is a software which renders advertisements that are published on the screen presented to the user at the time of installation. Not all adware has malicious intent, but it becomes a problem anyway because it harms computer performance and can be annoying.

A software that spies on you, tracks your internet activity with the intent to gather information about a person or organization sometimes without their knowledge. Some spyware like keyloggers may be installed intentionally in an organization to monitor activities of employees.

An advanced type of malware that restricts the access to the computer system until the user pays a fee. Ransomware continues to dominate cybersecurity. Malicious email volume increased 85% from Q2 – Source Tech Republic.
Read more about the top 10 worst ransomware attacks of 2017 (Source Tech Republic)

This type of malware will replicate itself and destroy information and files. It often uses a computer network to spread itself, relying on security failures.

A malicious program that misleads users, generally spread by some form of social engineering. Trojans may allow an attacker to access users’ personal information such as banking information, passwords, or personal identity. It can infect other devices connected to the network. Ransomware attacks are often carried out using a Trojan.

* Source Wikipedia

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