Malware vs virus vs worm – the differences and similarities

Antivirus

TodowinDRO

3 minutos

Malware: the generic term for malicious software

By distinguishing between a Computer virus and one worm Is it important to consider the broader general category of malware or malware understand. Malware refers to any code and applications written to harm devices or users. As such, malware is an umbrella term or broad category that includes spyware, adware, ransomware, and more. Viruses and worms are two different types of malware, but both can spread quickly. Both the differences and the similarities are explored in more detail in this blog post.

Computer virus – the equivalent of the biological virus

the designation Computer virus it is not a coincidence and the way it works shows some parallels with the biological virus. Whereas a biological virus invades a healthy cell, a computer virus infects a previously functioning “healthy” system or program.

After infection, computer viruses insert their code into the operating system or program code. The malware then uses the device’s resources to copy itself and spread. Executable files, documents, and even images can be used for streaming, among other things.

Viruses are initially in dormant mode and only become active when a specific action is performed. This can be running a program or enabling macros in an infected Word file. After activation, the computer virus unfolds its damage potential. It injects its code into other programs, replicates itself, corrupts files, degrades device performance and starts spreading to other devices.

With efficient security solutions like McAfee Total Protection 2022 or ESET Internet Security 2022 you can get complete protection against computer viruses. Antivirus programs identify malicious software and eventually neutralize it so it can’t harm your system and prevent it from spreading further.

Computer worms: malware in its own right

on computer worms These are stand-alone programs that have virus-like properties, but do not require a host program or any other files. The worms do not have to activate or activate first. Many computer worms can replicate and spread without human intervention. This has a serious impact on the rate of diffusion.

Like viruses, worms can enter a computer through a file or program. However, worms are not limited to this route of transmission. Depending on the programming, a computer worm can enter the system through a security hole and develop its potential damage without being detected. Unlike viruses, a specific host is not required.

Even with computer worms, security solutions like Bitdefender Internet Security 2022 or Norton Security 3.0 the best defense strategy.

Virus or worm, which is more dangerous?

The potential for damage from viruses and worms ranges from mild to catastrophic:

  • inconvenience: Some viruses and worms are limited to annoying messages or pop-ups.
  • Performance issues: You may experience poor performance, crash, or system crash. Settings can also be changed, which limits ease of use.
  • Loss of data, or money and identity theft: At the next level, there is a threat of data and/or identity theft. In addition, data can be damaged or deleted, which can lead to serious financial losses for companies.
  • Large-scale nation-state attacks: Some cyber attacks are carried out by government-sponsored hacking groups. In such a case, viruses, worms, and other malicious programs represent virtual weapons that are used, among other things, to harm government institutions.

Basically, worms are considered more dangerous because they can spread faster and don’t require any user action. For example, a worm can use your email contacts to automatically spread from one contact to another. The result is exponential growth with exceptional damage potential. Once the worm identifies a system with a security vulnerability, the disaster begins.

How are viruses and worms spread?

Some of the ways that viruses and worms spread are:

  • Email: Email is one of the most popular shipping methods. Emails may contain infected attachments and malicious links.
  • Vulnerabilities: When developing software, it can happen that security holes are overlooked. These can be used by hackers to inject viruses and worms. Computer worms can scan a network, identify any device with the vulnerability, and gain access on their own.
  • P2P file sharing: Music, movies, or programs from unauthorized sources may contain malware. For example, some cybercriminals offer attractive collections of software through P2P file-sharing platforms like Microsoft Office 2021 Home and Business but they provide supposedly non-functional software. In truth, it is a collection of viruses and worms that are ultimately downloaded by the user. If you want to be 100% sure, buy products like Microsoft Office Home and Student 2021 from an official, certified and trusted online store like BestSoftware.
  • malicious advertising: Even legitimate websites can contain infected ads in the form of banners or pop-ups. A simple click is enough and you unknowingly download a virus or worm. Some advertisements may perform a hidden download, so infection is possible without user action.

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