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Difference Between Malware and Adware

Today, we live in a connected world fueled in large part by the Internet. The Internet of today is very different from the Internet a few years back. Today, Internet is the powerhouse of everything electronics. We conduct most of your daily tasks online; from communicating and online banking to shopping and social networking. Internet is a limitless playground for information and it is easily accessible to anyone with a computer or a laptop, but despite all the good things we can do with the Internet, it can be dangerous place. It also poses a number of security risks not only for our computers, but our daily lives. Unfortunately, a threat to our computers is a threat to our society.

One of the main key threats to consider is malware. We’ve heard all about it and we all know the risks. The real security risk is malicious software, or malware. Malware is any software whose intent is malicious or whose effect is malicious. Personal users and small business owners are more likely at risk of falling victims to malware attacks. However, malware does not end with computer viruses. Adware is yet another form of malware that violates privacy by monitoring user’s computer activity or stealing personal information outright. Because there is no such thing as absolute security, it is vital to address the problem of malware for improving computer security.

 

What is Malware?

The term malware is a combination of two words, malicious and software. Any software used for malicious intentions that are typically illegal is a malware. Malware is a file or a code carefully designed to infiltrate a user’s personal computer and/or network that either collects data, steals information or a combination of these actions. Malware is sometimes designed to damage or destroy computer files, operating systems, and personal data as well as disrupt services or operations of a computer network, or entire business. Types of malware can include computer viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, adware, etc. Although it is typically distributed via emails or software installations, malware can sometimes replicate itself to various parts in a user’s personal computer and can be distributed across the Internet, spreading the infection further.

 

What is Adware?

Adware is a form of malware, a software application that displays advertisements, whether or not it does so with the user’s consent. Adware is quite similar to spyware in that both are gathering information about the user and their habits. Adware is more marketing-focused and is typically very obvious and can be both intrusive and difficult to eradicate. It is a software application that forces advertisements as an alternative to taking payment. It typically displays or downloads advertising material such as banner or pop-ups. The ads are delivered through pop-up windows or redirect a user’s web browser to certain websites with the sole intention of making a sale. Some adware targets the advertisement in a specific context to match with what the user is doing or based on his/her online behavior.

 

Difference between Malware and Adware

  1. Meaning

 – The term malware is a combination of two words, malicious and software. Any software used for malicious intentions that are typically illegal is a malware. Malware is any malicious software designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or computer network. Adware is one of the many forms of malware that conceals itself on your device and serves you advertisements as an alternative to making a payment. Adware is quite similar to a spyware, but is typically very obvious and can be both intrusive and difficult to eradicate.

  1. Carrier 

– Malware is a file or a code carefully designed to infiltrate a user’s personal computer and/or network that either collects data, steals information or a combination of these actions. Although it is typically distributed via emails or software installations, malware can sometimes replicate itself to various parts in a user’s personal computer. Adware is a form of malware served as advertisements in your web browser to collect your personal information, browsing history, and more. The ads are delivered through pop-up windows or redirect a user’s web browser to certain malicious websites.

  1. Characteristics 

– Adware is considered a somewhat less harmful and usually more obvious form of a malware which shares some characteristics of adware except it’s more marketing focused. Sometimes adware are so designed by its creator to target the advertisement so as to fit the context of what and where on the Internet the user frequently visits. Users might land on some other website without understanding its intent which may disrupt your systems. Adware may also gather information about users which can be further used for marketing purposes without their consent. Unlike a malware, adware does not self-replicate.

  1. Protection 

– The best way to protect your systems or prevent intruders from invading your privacy is to practice safe computing and use caution. This means you should be wary of opening attachments such as Word documents or Excel spreadsheets without scanning them first with a recognized antivirus program. You should never visit unsecured websites or download or open a file from untrusted sources or an email from an unknown sender without verifying them first. And always keep your antivirus software up to date. Use reputed and verified antimalware programs to stay protected at all times.

Malware vs. Adware: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Malware vs. Adware

Malware is any malicious software designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or computer network, while adware is yet another form of malware that violates privacy by monitoring user’s computer activity or stealing personal information outright. Adware is a target-specific malware that displays advertisements whether or not it does so with the user’s consent. Malware is intentionally sneaky by design and attempts to remain hidden in users’ computers. Adware is a software application that hides in plain sight within ads that are typically bundled with legitimate programs like software packages.

 

Sagar Khillar

Sagar Khillar is a prolific content/article/blog writer working as a Senior Content Developer/Writer in a reputed client services firm based in India. He has that urge to research on versatile topics and develop high-quality content to make it the best read. Thanks to his passion for writing, he has over 7 years of professional experience in writing and editing services across a wide variety of print and electronic platforms.

Outside his professional life, Sagar loves to connect with people from different cultures and origin. You can say he is curious by nature. He believes everyone is a learning experience and it brings a certain excitement, kind of a curiosity to keep going. It may feel silly at first, but it loosens you up after a while and makes it easier for you to start conversations with total strangers – that’s what he said."

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References :


[0]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vizzzual-dot-com/2395159659

[1]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/vectors/warning-alert-detected-malware-2168379/

[2]Aycock, John. Spyware and Adware. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 2010. Print

[3]Aycock, John. Computer Viruses and Malware. Berlin, Germany: Springer, 2006. Print

[4]Edge, Charles, et al. Enterprise Mac Security: Mac OS X Snow Leopard. New York City: Apress, 2010. Print

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