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Virus Vs. Malware: Four Things To Be Aware Of

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Business owners and managers who are concerned with protecting company data need to understand the difference between virus and malware. Both viruses and malware can pose huge security threats and cost companies thousands of dollars if computers and servers are subjected to the damages they cause. 

The following are four important things about viruses and malware to be aware of to ensure that your IT capabilities are adequate to keep your data and computer equipment safe:

A virus is a type of malware.

A virus is a specific classification of malware. While every virus is considered malware, not all malware code is a virus.

Malware is a broader classification that refers to any type of malicious code or software that can do damage to a computer system. 

A virus is capable of replicating itself to other computers when software is shared.

A virus is malicious software that is capable of replicating itself and spreading outside a host system to other computers and servers.

A computer virus can be compared to an actual biological virus or parasite. When software is shared between two computers over a large network like the Internet, viruses can spread to other computers. 

Types of malware that exist in addition to viruses include spyware, worms, adware, and ransomware.

The following is a brief description of some other types of malware that companies need to protect their computer systems against:

  • Spyware- Spyware is malicious software that allows an outside party to spy on a computer system and steal data. Unfortunately, cyber criminals can design spyware so that it is very difficult for the victim to detect once it is in the victim's system. It's therefore best to prevent spyware infiltration rather than fix it after the fact. 
  • Worms- This type of malware is a lot like a virus. However, a worm will destroy a system's operating files and data while also replicating itself and growing within the computer system.
  • Adware- This type of malware will place advertisements for an outside party on a host computer system. 
  • Ransomware- This type of malware will "ransom" the computer system by forcing the host system to pay for access to its own data and files. 

Nowadays, anti virus precautions alone aren't enough to protect sensitive company data.

In the past, viruses were the only type of malicious software out there that posed threats to computer systems. However, nowadays a much wider range of malware has been created by cyber criminals.

Protecting computer systems from all possible cyber threats now requires not only computer anti virus services, but also anti malware precautions.