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A virus is a program that replicates itself. It cannot exist on its own so it attaches to another program, usually an executable one. A worm is like a virus—it also replicates itself. However, it can stand on its own and does not need another program to run. It usually infects your computer’s networking features, which includes its internet connection.
Spyware and adware go hand-in-hand. Spyware is a kind of program which gathers information, specifically browsing habits. It tracks down what kind of sites you visit, and adware will generate ads that fit with your interest which spyware based on information it gathered in first place.
Malware is malicious software. It’s any program that is useless, or worse, destructive. A Trojan a program pretending to be good but once it’s deep in your system it proves to be quite opposite.
In spite of all their differences, they have one thing in common: they are out to give you headaches by rendering your computer unusable.
To protect your computer as much as possible from being infected, here are four dangerous activities that you should avoid, or at least minimize:
• Opening email attachments
Do not open any email attachments if they aren’t scanned by antivirus software. Worms can spread through email, so even a friend can unwittingly send you one by way of an attachment.
• Internet File-sharing
In file-sharing via internet, your computer is exposed and open to others it is communicating with. If other computers’ files can be transferred to yours, same thing can be said about a virus, if others are infected.
• Downloading free software of questionable origins
Free software is free for a reason. If you bothered to read End User License Agreement (EULA) of a software you are installing—which you probably didn’t—you most likely will come upon a short and tiny clause saying that if you agree to terms, you are allowing advertisements to pop up on your screen, or other software to be installed in your system. So be careful with what you download. Read product reviews and find out if other people got headaches from using it.