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It includes software such as viruses, spyware, adware, Trojans, worms, scareware, and more.The term was probably developed by people (like me) who didn’t want to keep writing out “viruses and spyware and adware and …” when writing about current internet threats.All malware is not created equal, which is why there are so many different terms to describe the variations. Spyware is a class of malware that, as its name implies, is typically designed to spy on you or your computer, silently collecting information that is subsequently sent on to others for typically nefarious purposes.Various forms of advertising, including additional toolbars, homepage hacks, and data insertion (while technically not a form of spying) are often also included in the term to determine the presence of spyware.A trojan horse is not a virus per se, but it may carry them.

Malware is a kind of catchall phrase that encompasses pretty much any kind of software that could cause harm to your data or your machine.

Exactly how a virus does this depends on its type, but can include propagation over removable media such as USB drives, networks, or network-based activities such as user downloads.

A firewall is a barrier between something that is potentially dangerous and something you want to keep safe. There is a wall of metal behind your car’s dashboard designed to keep the passengers safe should the engine catch on fire. In computing, a firewall is typically a networking device – often a router – that is designed to understand network traffic to some degree.

One of the more frustrating scenarios that I’ve seen involves going to great lengths to clear a machine of viruses only to get infected again within seconds of connecting to the internet.

Some classes of viruses exploit operating system vulnerabilities that are present simply by connecting to the internet.

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