Viruses, worms, spyware, and adware are terms for harmful things that can enter an unprotected computer. Click on any of the icons below each name to discover how to protect your computer.
Malware is an abbreviation for malicious software. Malware is designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The expression is used by computer pros to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.
A virus is a program that attaches itself to other files on your computer. There are many forms of viruses, each performing different, usually malevolent, functions on your computer.
A worm is a type of virus that replicates itself repeatedly through a computer network or security breach in your computer. Because it keeps copying itself, a worm can fill up a hard drive and cause your network to malfunction.
A Trojan horse is a computer program that claims to do one thing, such as play a game, but has hidden parts that can erase files or even your entire hard drive.
The term is derived from the Trojan Horse story in Greek mythology.
Adware includes the banners and pop-up ads that come with programs you download from the Internet.
Often these programs are free, and to support them, the program owner sells space for ads to display on your computer every time you use the program.
Spyware is a computer program that downloads with another program from the Internet. Spyware can monitor what you do, keep track of your keystrokes, discern credit card and other personal identification numbers, and pass that information back to the person who wrote the program.
Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet or functionality of other programs.