The difference between Malware, Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses. Plus, What’s a Backdoor?

There are so many different ways to infect a computer with malicious programming, and so many different terms to keep straight! Here is a simple breakdown to help you understand the basics.

1. Malware is a broad term used to refer to any type of malicious code. It can be a Virus, Worm, Trojan Horse, etc.

2. A Virus acts just like a biological virus. It has the ability to replicate itself and spread throughout your computer, infecting the whole thing and potentially causes irreparable damage if you don’t remove it quickly.

3. I like to think of Worms as Super Viruses. They are not contained to one computer, but can travel between computers on a network and infect multiple machines.

4. Trojan Horses are pretty much self explanatory. They were named for the story of the Trojan Horse, where an entire army hid inside a large wooden horse, and once it was wheeled into the enemy’s city, they jumped out and had the upper hand in a vicious attack. This form of Malware is disguised as a harmless code, but once it is in your computer it acts maliciously.

5. A Backdoor is something computer programmers use to access programs remotely, usually for updating or maintenance reasons.  However, sometimes these Backdoors can be used by hackers to gain access to your system for nefarious purposes. Some Malware will have backdoors built into their codes, so that once your computer is infected, the hackers will be able to remotely access your system


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