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In the world of computer security, there are lot of terms that get used. Technically most of us don’t know different between types of threats. The best way to protect yourself from such threats is to become aware of what they are and how they operate-before they can hurt you.


Virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and copies itself from one place to another. A computer virus can replicates itself. Virus may also contain some malicious codes which can affect your files, your operating system or even your master boot records thereby making your computer start slow or not boot at all. Computer Virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems.

Virus spread from inflected programs, e-mail attachments.


Generally Virus is also known as Malware. Malware is short for malicious software. Malware is also a type of program in the form of code, script or active content. The purpose of malware is for destroying computer operation or gain access to private computer system. The main difference between Virus and Malware is Virus needs some media to spread and Malware do the things that don’t want to do. Eg. Sending mass spam mails or steals your password.

Malware is classified as –

Spyware is software that spies on you, i.e. by collecting various types of user data from your PC without your knowledge. Spyware don’t harm your computer, instead, they directly attack on you by collecting your personal data such as your password, credit card numbers, important files and many other personal stuff. Spywares also can track your keystrokes, your internet activities in order to send advertising (Adware) back to your system.

Adware is advertising-supported software that, once installed on your computer, tracks your internet browsing and sends you popups containing advertisements related to the sites and topics you've visited in order to generate revenue for its author.

Worms are malicious software that aims to spread fast as possible through your computer by creating duplicates of itself on other drives, systems and networks. Unlike Virus, they don’t’ require any media to spread and does not need a human action to replicate and spread and this makes worms so dangerous.

A Worm always in search of network loopholes to replicate from computer to computer. They spread through e-mail or chat windows. A good firewall along with antivirus is necessary to control worm attack.

Do you remember that story in which about big wooden horse used by Greek soldiers to get inside and capture Troy?

A Trojan horse is a program that either pretends themselves to have something important or fun but actually contains damaging code. Trojans are typically used by cybercriminals for online fraud and theft.


Rootkits are computer programs that are designed by attackers to gain root or administrative access to your computer. Obtaining this access is a result of direct attack on a system and hides the presence of another application (virus, spyware, etc.) on the computer. This means that the owner of the Rootkit is capable of executing files and changing system configurations on the target machine, as well as accessing log files or monitoring activity to covertly spy on the user's computer usage. Rootkits are difficult to detect because they are activated before your system's Operating System has completely booted up.

What is the difference between Virus, Malware and Rootkit

June 09, 2014  / Posted By - Kiran Patil