Difference Between Spyware and Malware
The terms malware and spyware are the most recent additions to the list of categories for software that can be harmful to your computer along with the more common virus and trojans. Spyware is used to categorize certain software that would monitor the activity on your computer in order to extract data on the users of that computer. This can range from benign information like web sites visited or surfing habits to more important things like credit card numbers or user names and passwords. Malware is an umbrella term that is meant to cover all malicious software. It was developed due to the expanding number of malicious software floating around the internet. Virus, trojans, worms, and spyware are classified as malware along with a few others that were not mentioned here.
Unlike other malware like virus that carries a payload that could delete your data or cause your PC to malfunction, spyware do not intend to cause damage to the computer as it would not be able to extract data if it does that. It just stays in the background while recording the activity on the computer. The dangerous types of spyware are those that have keyloggers installed. They record all the inputs on your keyboard and can extract valuable information. Adware or software that displays ads on your computer is also a type of spyware as it monitors your activities and determines which ads you would be most interested with. Although they are spyware, they don’t really pose any major threat as they do not extract any valuable information.
Regardless of whether the spyware on your computer is malicious or not, it still reduces the performance of your computer to some degree as it takes up resources in order to function though most spyware authors aim to reduce this so that users do not notice its presence. Aside from the processing power that it takes away from your computer, it can also add to the load that would be carried by your internet connection as it would need to send the information that it gathered to another server on the internet which would in turn send information back.
1. Malware covers a lot of different software, Spyware is just one of them
2. Spyware often doesn’t cause major damage but other malware can
3. While other malware can impair the function of your computer, spyware can extract personal information like credit card numbers
4. Spyware takes up processing power and a part of the bandwidth of your internet connection
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