Difference between virus and spyware
Virus vs spyware:
Computer systems are quite delicate things that can be subjected to various malfunctions caused by various malware that harm the system. There are many types of such malware existing in the world, of which virus and spyware and two of the most notorious ones. However, most of the time, the difference between a virus and spyware are not properly identified and often, one is seen to be blaming the adverse effects of spyware, assuming that the culprit is a virus and thus treats the computer for the assumed problem rather than taking the trouble to investigate further.
What is a virus?
A virus is capable of attaching itself to a certain program or a file on the computer and spreading itself across various computers and various programs as a result. Another computer can be infected with the same virus if a virus infected file has been copied to another healthy computer. Computer viruses do not always cause the same amount of trouble as their severity can differ from one virus to another. While some may hinder the functioning of the computer, others may harm hardware, software or certain files in the computer. Viruses are always attached to an executable program which usually means that a virus cannot affect the computer unless the file that contains the virus has been opened. Once infected, the virus can spread unconsciously through files, emails or sharing of certain items which have been infected with the virus.
What is spyware?
Spyware can be defined as a type of malicious software, installed in computers with the aim of gathering information through the user’s Internet connection without the knowledge of the users. Spyware is thus secretly installed on computers and are quite hard to detect and therefore destroy. Spyware monitors the activities of the user on the internet and transmit that information to someone else. However, there are certain spyware such as keyloggers that are intentionally installed in public computers with the intention of monitoring the activity of their users. Spyware is also capable of collecting sensitive details such as bank or credit account information and are also known to interfere with the user’s control of a computer by installing additional software without the user’s permission. They are also capable of changing computer settings which causes slowing down of the Internet, un-authorized changes in browser settings or the functionality of other software.
What is the difference between spyware and virus?
Virus and spyware are both two types of malware that can cause intense damage to the computer system. Because of these malicious things, sensitive information regarding the users becomes compromised and computers become dysfunctional, thus severely interfering with the day to day work of individuals. However, while a virus seeks to spread, spyware seeks to embed. A virus once installed, seeks to infect other files and replicate itself as well as seek out ways in which it can infect other computers in the process. Spyware on the other hand does not seek to spread itself. It is content to merely hide in the system, disguising itself as a legitimate application, secretly monitoring all the browsing and messaging behavior of the user. Thus, while the activity of a virus is overt and attracts the attention of the user fairly quickly, the activity of spyware is covert and their infestations are typically longer lasting than that of a virus.
The intentions of virus and spyware writers vary largely as well. Virus writers often want to distinguish themselves among their peers, outperforming previous virus outbreaks as a means of illustrating how far the science of virus creation has come. Spyware on the other hand have monetary aims in their minds. It saps a computer for anything that it can use for monetary gain, influencing the sites that the user visits and such activities. Thereby one could say that virus writers create viruses with the aim of gaining fame whereas spyware writers do so for monetary purposes.
When comparing the degrees of malice of the two malware, one can say that spyware is the lesser evil of the two. A virus intentionally destroys files by erasing or corrupting them. Spyware however, is a parasite that needs its host to survive and therefore, it does not cause destruction in the system. It needs the computer to be healthy as a non functioning computer cannot generate monetary or advertising value for the spyware. As a result, spyware is nondestructive unless the user does not try to remove it. However, most spyware are removal resistant as most of them reappear even after uninstalling them while others may render a computer inoperable at an incomplete removal of the spyware.