When concerning malware, many people believe that a worm and a virus are the same. They both have their similarities and may carry harmful payloads. The truth is, however, they are different. While most consider that the problems with their computer are caused by a virus, this may not be true. Computer users should learn the difference between the two and learn how to prevent them when possible.
Computer viruses, in most cases are transmitted through an e-mail. Original victims are tricked into downloading a file that transmits the virus. The person who sends the virus, may not be the one who originally planted it, but a victim as well. When computer users send files and are infected, they can pass the virus along as well without realizing it. This is the number one reason why virus detectors, like System Optimizer Pro, must be used when opening attached files through e-mail, even if the receiver knows and trusts the sender. Viruses are meant to spread themselves from file to file on a computer. Once a virus is received, it can infect every file and application on a computer. While this usually happens rapidly, it can also happen slowly. The slower the virus spreads, the longer it takes to make it clear to the user that they do in fact, have a virus. Again, the best way to prevent a virus is to learn how to open and send e-mails safely.
Computer worms are a little different from viruses. The worm is different because, instead of being transmitted through files, it transmits it’s self through networks. Worms are a bit trickier and harder for users to prevent. The spreading of a worm can happen quickly because it’s meant to copy it’s self to travel from computer to computer. Because transmitting can happen so rapidly, an infected user can pass the worm to hundreds without even knowing it. Although, as mentioned before, worms are difficult to prevent, they are still preventable.
All malware can be stopped through virus scans, firewalls and anti-virus protections. It helps for the computer to recognize the difference between the two and be aware on how to prevent them. The computer user should know that a computer virus depends on the user to pass around the virus for it and a computer worm does not need the action of a user to spread its self because it copies and passes through networks. It’s vital for users to act fast when they believe their computer is infected and not use the internet until a professional fixes the computer and makes it “healthy” again. Malware planters get smarter and trickier as technology flourishes, so regular computer users need to be just as smart. Overall it’s important to be aware that many people refer to malware as a virus automatically but this may not actually be the type of malware that has infected the computer. Users should also know that because of worms, they do not necessarily have to send and receive files to transmit the virus. Safe internet use is vital for a healthy computer.