What’s the difference between a computer virus and malware?


While computer viruses and malware are both unwelcome plagues on your computer, there are some distinctions between the two. A virus is actually a type of malware that is designed to replicate itself and then spread, just like a flu virus in the human body. Malware encompasses all kinds of malicious code that can infect your computer. It is a software created to harm and infect the host system— in this case, your computer.


Malware includes viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, worms, and others. Spyware spies on you by tracking your internet activity and helps hackers steal your information unbeknownst to you. Adware presents advertisements that reflect your browsing history. While it is not necessarily malicious, it can affect computer performance. Trojans are actually a type of virus that is designed to trick the user into thinking they are safe so they download the program and run it. Once running it will take over the computer’s files and steal valuable information. Worms are malware that destroys information and files stored on computers.

How To Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Malware

One of the most important steps to protecting your computer from viruses and malware is always keeping your computer up to date. If there are updates to your software, operating systems, apps, or plugins available, download and install them. They are often released to patch any holes in security defenses, so it’s important to update them so your computer isn’t vulnerable.


Another great thing to do to protect your computer is to install a scanner to detect malware and viruses. To be extra careful, use more than one type of scanner because different scanners could catch different malware and miss others. There are plenty of free options you can try out while you figure out what’s best for your computer and needs. Run your scanners regularly but be sure to do them one at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm and inadvertently crash your computer. Some scanners will automatically delete malware they detect, but you should always make sure that any infected files are completely removed from your computer.

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