Now more than at any point in the history of the Internet, malware, adware and viruses are plaguing our daily lives. Whether you use the Internet for business or pleasure, the threat of online attacks can become overwhelming and cause serious harm. Hackers continue to evolve their attacks, making it increasingly difficult to detect attacks and protect yourself and your business.

Below, we’ve listed the differences between malware, adware and viruses to help you better understand these types of attacks.

MALWARE
Malware is short for “malicious software.” And malicious is exactly what it is. Malware is written specifically to harm and infect the host system. Once a system is infected, it’s at the mercy of the hackers. From computers and servers to social media and bank accounts, millions of people are attacked by malware in a variety of ways every day.

There are many different types of malware and new ones are constantly being created, which means the hackers are usually one step ahead. Malware includes viruses as well as other types of malicious software, such as trojan horses, worms, spyware and ransomware.

• Trojan horse malware is fittingly named. Trojan horse software is specifically designed to trick victims by appearing useful or coming from a legitimate or friendly source. Instead, once installed, the software begins attacking your system.

• Worms are very similar to viruses and just as dangerous. Worms spread from computer to computer and can replicate themselves, but unlike a virus, they can infect other systems without any human action. This can lead to an exponential amount of damage before the worm has been stopped.

• Coming of age in the early 2000s, Spyware is a type of malware that infiltrates your phone or computer, unbeknownst to you, and steals your Internet usage data and sensitive information. Spyware accomplishes this by spying your login and password information, which often leads to credit card fraud and identify theft.

• Ransomware is a type of malware that locks and encrypts a victim’s phone or computer data, and then demands a ransom to restore access. Oftentimes, the victim must pay the ransom within set amount of time or risk losing access forever or the release of sensitive information.

ADWARE

Adware is a type of advertising-supported software and is more of a nuisance than malicious. Adware produces advertisements for the sole purpose of generating revenue for the author. The software is designed to track which websites the user frequently visits and presents related advertisements in hopes of being more attractive to the user. While not malicious in intent, adware can affect the performance of your phone or computer.

VIRUSES 

A computer virus infects your system by attaching itself to a program or file that, when shared, enables the virus to spread to other systems like a bad cold. Much like a human virus, this type of malware varies in severity, with some cases only causing annoying symptoms, while others can damage your hardware, software or files. Almost all viruses are attached to a file, and will only infect your system if you open or run the file.

The best way to prevent these types of attacks is to be over-cautious and always weary of suspicious emails and texts. If you’re the victim of a cyber attack or want to protect yourself from cyber threats, call the pros at Workforce IT today. We have the experience and expertise to protect your business and sensitive information. 904.638.8406