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The Big Three Invaders of Your Virtual Space: Virus, Spyware, and Malware

Virus, Spyware, and Malware. The words spark fear in the hearts of computer users everywhere. That’s because (aside from sounding so ominous) these types of programs can wreak havoc on your computer and your PC experience. We see a lot of these problems at H Power Computing – they are among the most common reasons for malfunctioning computer-driven devices. Many people aren’t sure of the differences between a virus, a spyware program, and a malware program however. So, we’re here to dispel the mystery and help you become better prepared to deal with these inevitable show-stoppers.

Viruses, Worms, and Trojans

Viruses embed their files and commands within other programs on your computer, or in a safe location where they may be launched when you boot-up your computer. They tend to keep quiet so they can quickly spread without causing any alarm to the user. However, just like a virus in your body, it eventually becomes apparent that there is a serious problem. Viruses can cause all kinds of trouble – from destroying critical system files to stealing personal information. They can also be transmitted through shared files and access points, such as infected websites.

Worms are a lot like viruses in that they keep a low profile, but are significantly different in the way they are executed. Worms can be transmitted between computers similar to viruses, yet need no assistance in doing their job. They can execute at will, without the need for the user to perform a certain task.

Trojans are viruses that are well-hidden from the user until it’s too late. They are typically embedded in a useful program that seems to be completely benign. This may be a game downloaded from the internet or a file emailed from a friend with the virus on their computer. The game or file will work as expected, but the unsuspecting user has contracted the Trojan. Unlike other viruses, Trojans are generally spread through file sharing and websites and are not usually self-propogating.

Spyware and Malware

Spyware (programs that ‘spy’ on your computing behaviors) and malware (malicious programs) are a bit different than viruses in that they don’t all cause the same type of harm. There are many types of malicious programs out there. Many such programs go virtually unnoticed by the computer user. Dropper programs, for example, exist for the sole purpose of allowing other malware programs to be installed on your computer. Bots are also a problem, but are often unnoticed. Bots make it possible for hackers to use your computer system as a cover for their operations, sending out spam emails and other programs so that their true, physical location is always hidden.

Some of these programs can keep tabs on your browsing history to generate pop ups that may seem relevant to you (these are called Adware) and then there are those that are far less common, such as ransomware.  Ransomware is a devious program that holds your computer or files ‘hostage’ and demands a financial transaction (payment) before your files or system can be sued. While one of the more evil types of malware, it is uncommon because it requires the culprit to stay accessible to collect payment.

The Good News!

Whether your computer has contracted a virus or a pesky adware program, H Power Computing can help! We offer professional, expert solutions to computer problems that are directly related to these types of programs. We’ll help you understand the dangers of malicious software and how to prevent it in the future. Let us help get rid of your bad apples and show you how other programs can offer protection against these problems in the future!


Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/