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Difference Between Virus and Spyware

spywareVirus vs Spyware

Computer and internet security is big business. People need to combat lots of malicious programs and applications to protect themselves from decreased computer performance and invasive monitoring of computer activity. The most prevalent threats are viruses and spyware. Such digital entities are created by malicious programmers for a lot of reasons.

A computer virus is a malicious program or code that is written to cause damage to a computer or network system. It can make a computer’s operating system go haywire doing things it is not supposed to do. Other software installed in the computer can also get infected and in severe cases, may even destroy hardware.

The defining characteristic of a virus, like its namesake, is the ability to spread and replicate itself. It starts from a host computer that is infected by a virus from USB storage devices, an email message, or a webpage. If a computer is on a network, the virus will attempt to infect other computers in the network via replication and file modification.

In the old days — when internet and networking is not what it is now, these viruses are stored and found in hard disks, floppy disks, and other digital storage devices where they stick on infected software and games. In essence, a virus is spread by sharing of files through any means possible.

In the past, computer viruses are created either as experiments or as practical jokes of computer geeks. It eventually evolved to become big business when it spread to numerous computer systems causing havoc to many. Soon, the demand for anti-virus software increased. Now, viruses come in many forms, e.g. worms and Trojans ñ and are spread to promote businesses by redirecting webpages, pop-up advertisements, and other scare-based marketing tactics.

Spyware may act as viruses since some, if not most, also try to replicate themselves making removal from the system difficult. But unlike viruses, they are created purely for malicious reasons. The main intention of the creators of spyware is to stealthily monitor individualís computer activities thus the name. It may get information about your web browsing habits and may even log key strokes (username and passwords) that can be used for identity theft.

Since it was created more recently, it is never innocent since it is designed to steal and get information without your knowledge. It also allows adware programs to unknowingly install themselves into your computer.

Spyware is not really meant to destroy oneís computer system and it primarily aims to obtain information illegally. It may also install unwanted ad programs that can slow your computer down to a crawl.

Summary:
1. Viruses started rather innocently a long time ago but eventually evolved into a harmful digital entity while spyware is more recent and created purely for malicious reasons.
2. Viruses ultimately destroy computer systems (software and hardware). Spyware is not gravely destructive in terms of computer damage but the unwanted applications it installs can be an annoyance.
3. A virus is a general term which has a distinctive characteristic of replicating and modifying files. It also comes in many types like worms and trojans. Spyware, on the other hand is specific. It can qualify as a virus since some can also replicate files.
4. Viruses aim to disrupt human to computer interactivity while spyware stealthily monitor computer activity.


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2 Comments

  1. They are different but both can destroy you computer system.

  2. this is well written.. thank you. :D

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