Showing posts with label Spyware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spyware. Show all posts

Dec 5, 2014

Adware, Malware, Phishing, Spyware, Trojan Horse, Virus, and Warez

These terms show up often, especially during the holidays when more people than ever are cruising the web for bargains. Here are a few descriptions to help you understand the lingo.

Adware is typically an application that shows users an excessive amount of advertising in return for providing a service of little value. There is a grey area from most anti-virus companies as to how to handle adware, because so many applications have begun to show ads.

Malware generally is an all-encompassing term used to describe any harmful program. This includes spyware, viruses, and phishing scams.

Phishing and spyware are closely related. They work by tricking users and sending user information to a third party. A phishing application or website will pretend to be from a trusted source to try and trick a person into entering personal information.

Spyware tries to hide itself from users. It is an application that reads user information and data without the user actually knowing it - and reporting it back to a third party. This includes keystroke loggers to steal passwords or credit card information.

A trojan horse is a specific type of virus. The app pretends to be something useful, or helpful, or fun while causing harm or stealing data. This term is often used to describe spyware and phishing attacks as well.

The term virus term has mostly been replaced by malware, although there is a subtle difference. Virus typically takes control of the operating system and either damages it, or uses it for its own purposes. An example might be sending emails to everyone in the email address book.

Warez typically refers to pirated or unlicensed software. The files are stolen from the real developers.

Bottom line - Adware is aggravating, but not usually harmful. Phishing and trojan horses wear masks and steal data, while spyware hides itself and steals data. Malware is the new all-encompassing term, except for Warez. Malware aggravates or steals from us while Warez steals from developers.