What differences do Virus, Malware, Worm, Trojan, Rootkit etc. have?

A common question I often answer about computer viruses helping my consumers to choose a good security solution for their computers. So I believe that this blog post may be a little help to get started with security solutions.

Before we go ahead, let me clear the confusion between virus and malware. The term virus is often used as substitution to malware now-a-days. But if you go deep down, Malware, short for malicious software, contains malicious code that can slow down your computer, corrupt your files, master boot records and so forth. And Virus is a kind of malware that creates replicas and spreads from one file to another just like a biological virus replicates itself in human body.

System Failure

System Failure

Some people have some misconception that antimalware is not a comprehensive security suite and merely protects against some sort of potential threats but it is not TRUE. And the fact is that the term “antivirus” appeared when first security solution was developed to protect against computer viruses. Since then different kinds of malware came into picture and got their solutions sooner or later as the computer industry grew. But no one (read AV companies) bothered to change the term “antivirus” and it became an identity for security solutions. Now AV brands are antimalware but popular as antivirus among people and the big daddies don’t want to lose their consumers due to confusing terminology. So what matter is the data not those terms.

It is essentials to know what you are dealing with before you know how to protect computers from it. This list goes long with virus, Trojan or Trojan horse, worm, rootkit and so on.

Let’s have a brief overview on malware terminologies:

What is Virus?

Computer virus is a program that spreads from one file to another and then one computer to another. A virus may corrupt or delete data, master boot record and even everything on the hard disk.

What is Trojan/Trojan Horse?

A Trojan horse takes full control of computer without your knowledge and hooks other malware in system such as backdoors and key loggers.

What is Spyware?

Spyware collects different user data and personal information from computer without your knowledge such as Internet surfing habits, a history of visited sites, and user logins and passwords.

What is Rootkit?

A rootkit is a silent malware that hides the existence of certain processes or programs and enables unauthorized access to your PC. It is mostly installed through Trojans.

What is Adware?

Adware is false software that shows unwanted ads instead of doing the actual operations. It generally does no harm to the computer, however sometimes it may come with integrated spyware such as key-loggers.

What is Worm?

Worm is a kind of malware that slows down computers and degrade network performance by implementing malicious routines.

What is Backdoor?

Backdoor is installed through Trojans and gains direct access and bypass normal computer authentication systems.

What is Key logger?

Key logger records keyboard input without your knowledge and steals passwords, important data such as online banking details.

Now the malware family would be known to you! In modern computer industry, protection is the topmost priority, so it is recommended to use a good antimalware (anti-virus program) suite, because some viruses, spyware can be difficult to eliminate even for the experts.

I prefer to use BitDefender security solutions or if you have already paid for genuine Windows and don’t want to spend a penny anymore then Microsoft Security Essentials is your guard.