Most of us are aware of the fact that the internet provides us with immense leverage to explore various things online. With the internet, one can access things at his own convenience, and that too at his fingertips. Although with the technological development, various threats like malware and viruses are also on update. Every day we hear the name of new malware and virus attacks, which somehow brings the following topic to discussion “Are malware and viruses the same thing?”
Well, to answer this, I will be providing in-depth insight on the same, so that you will get a clear idea on “Are malware and viruses the same thing?”
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
Are Malware and Viruses the Same Thing?
To answer this, “NO” malware and viruses are not the same thing and are slightly different from each other. Their work and intention are quite different from each other. To put it simply, Malware can be called as the parent and viruses as their children.
Therefore, keep reading the whole article for your clarity, so that it can help you to take specific measures if you are affected by a virus or malware.
Difference Between Malware and Virus:
If you are still confused between malware and virus, don’t worry, for your convenience I will be drafting definitions of both which will help you to understand them better.
What is malware?
A malware attack simply comprises any type of virus software that is written for a specific purpose and then injected into the victim’s computer through email, downloads, or any malicious link.
Malware consists of Viruses, Spyware, Ransomware, Trojan, and many other types of malicious cyber-attacks, that allow the hacker to accomplish what he wants.
Malware varies according to the aim and severity of the attack, for example; if a hacker or attacker wants to gain a huge financial advantage, he will try to inject a Ransomware virus into the victim’s system and then encrypt all his files. After that, he will make a financial deal with the victim, and tell him to pay in Cryptocurrency as they are untraceable, if he wants back his files or data, safe and sound.
What is a Virus?
A Virus is just a type of malware that is injected to harm the victim’s computer in the form of small codes. Still don’t misunderstand this because a virus can be malware, but malware cannot be a virus.
A virus is just a part or says child to malware. It is designed to copy itself and then spread across the whole system or network. It is similar to human viruses, like if someone is affected with a flu virus, then there are high chances that you can also get affected by the same virus, if you come in close contact with that person. In biological terms, I would say the affected host has replicated his virus to the new host.
A virus can enter the victim’s system by infecting emails or applications and then multiply itself with the help of removable hard disks (pen drives and external drives), infected websites or emails, and network routers
The severity of a virus attack depends upon its execution, normally a virus corrupts your hard disk or files, whereas a complex virus can damage your whole system by hiding inside it, and becoming undetectable. They also multiply in such a way that they can have different features, resulting in failure of detection by antivirus software.
Why do People get Confused?
Well to answer this, have you ever come across a thing or a word that has a different meaning but is referred to as the same because of the old habit? The same goes for viruses and malware. In the 1970s the first malware was termed as “Virus”, similarly the first anti-malware software that was introduced in the 1980s-1990s was termed as “Antivirus.”
Thus, due to the old name-calling, people always tend to get confused between viruses and malware, and then end up calling malware a virus.
How to tell if I got infected by Virus or Malware?
For starters, most of the malware attacks are done by being low-key, but it is slightly different when it comes to Ransomware. Usually, when a victim is infected by Ransomware, it automatically notifies the victim, so that he will have to pay ransom to the attacker if he wants his data back in decrypted form.
Whereas, malware like spyware, goes low-key and stays undetectable because they need to spy on your every activity and collect data. Getting detected will only screw up their mission.
So, regardless of the category, you can always identify whether you are targeted with malware or virus by:
- Noticing any unwanted file or software installed on your system.
- On your laptop or mobile phone, you can always identify it, if your battery is draining fast.
- Your system runs slowly.
- You notice a sudden spike of heat on your system.
- Unexpected pop-ups.
- Problems shutting or restarting your computer.
- Restricts you to remove or uninstall any software.
- Noticing a sudden change on your internets home page.
- Noticing emails that you haven’t initiated.
- Shows ads in unexpected places like on Government websites.
- Shows new and unexpected toolbar icons on your desktop.
- Displays website names on your browsers you didn’t visit.
Many malware can show similar signs and thus sometimes it can be very tricky to identify them correctly, but it doesn’t matter as you should always take necessary measures to remove the virus or malware from your system to avoid any further damage.
Additionally, you should always practice safety measures while surfing on the internet, whether you are using your phone or computer, and avoid things that can invite viruses or malware into your computer.
How to Remove Malware or a Virus?
This is a no-brainer, and that being said you should always use antivirus and antimalware software. Though nowadays antivirus systems come with a pre-loaded antimalware feature that helps to eliminate and fight both viruses and malware.
Although here are some methods you can use to remove malware or a virus from your phone or computer:
- Run an antivirus scan and remove the malware or virus on normal mode.
- Manually remove it by turning on the safe mode, and then run an antivirus scan.
- Reset your phone or system if you are unable to remove it using the above methods.
Note: Use this method as a last resort, because resetting or formatting your phone or computer can cause data loss. So, if you are sure that you don’t want your data then proceed.
Many computers and phones across the world are compromised with viruses and Malwares, causing an immense loss of data and privacy. Although when it comes to identifying them correctly, people tend to confuse malware as a virus, resulting in an unsuccessful removal.
Therefore, you should always look around for signs and then decide if your computer or phone is infected with a virus or malware.
And so, to conclude, this was my deep insight on the topic “Are viruses and malware the same thing?” Hopefully, it will help you identify the difference, so you can take the proper measures to remove them successfully from your system.