You Say Tomato, I Say Tomatoe: How Viruses, Malware & Spyware Aren’t the Same

Let’s face it; computers are part of our everyday lives. We use them at work, at home or even on the go with the rise of smart phones. With this increase of usage comes an even greater increase in your susceptibility to viruses, malware & spyware. A question you may ask and may not know a clear answer to: What is the difference between these three and how can I protect myself?

Computer Virus
A  Computer Virus is similar to a virus that would infect your body and just like any virus it can range from bothersome to destructive. It is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. The original virus may modify the copies, or the copies may modify themselves.  A virus can spread from computer to computer through the internet or if the computer is part of a network. It also is commonly spread through removable devices such as CDs or USB drives that are infected.

Have you ever received a pop up on your computer claiming you are infected and to remove you must purchase “xyz” product?  That is an example of Malware. The term malware comes from the words malicious and software and it is essentially software that is designed to gain access to or damage your computer system without the consent of the owner.

essentially “spies” on your internet activity and will work in conjunction with adware that will display ads relevant to your interests. However, it can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software, redirecting web browser activity and even change computer settings.

The next question would be how do you combat the risk of these infections?

First, having an anti- virus (AV) program is essential in protecting your computer. However, it should be noted that anti-virus programs are not 100%. Millions of infections are created each day and the software cannot keep up with the demands.  It is important to keep the AV updated as this will help with combating those pesky infections.  Another good practice is to update the Microsoft operating system which will fix security issues that have become known.

Protecting yourself from malware is essentially about using your common sense.  The phrase nothing is for free rings true on the internet as well. If you have to download and install software that you did not specifically request, don’t install it!

The best way to prevent spyware from infecting a PC is to install a reputable anti-spyware program such as SUPER Anti-spyware. The program can be set to automatically protect your computer. This feature prevents spyware from attacking your computer when you are browsing the internet.

Watch out for these internet land mines in your travels through the internet!  Taking these precautions will cause far less headaches in your future!