Since the internet first became widely used, we have all heard a lot about software programmed by hackers to compromise our computers and data; this software falls under the umbrella term “malware”. Short for “malicious software”, malware can be programmed to do anything from destroying data to gathering sensitive information and has caused billions of dollars’ worth of damaged over the years.
There are many different types of malware all designed for specific purposes, but perhaps the most commonly talked-about types of malware are viruses and spyware.
A virus is probably the most well-known form of malware. Much like a virus in the medical world, a computer virus finds a host and replicates itself until it can move on to another host. Some viruses are worse than others, with effects ranging from mildly annoying pop-ups to the rendering the effected PC completely inoperable. The primary goal of a virus is to cause damage and havoc.
A spyware program is used to steal information from your computer and relay it back to the malware’s creator. Typically spyware will not harm a PC’s operations, but it can steal sensitive information such as passwords and bank details.