These two types of software are very similar to each other although they are not the same thing. Many times mistaken as a virus, malware can wreak havoc on any PC that it has infected. It may also drive the user to the brink of insanity. Malware or “Malicious Software” is any piece of software written directly with the intent of doing harm to the file system of your PC. Malware may be downloaded to your PC unintentionally through either a peer-to-peer file sharing program or through an opened email attachment. Malware may actually contain other malicious software such as viruses, worms, spyware, and adware. The malware software may actually corrupt the file system of your PC causing it to come to a slow crawl or even a screeching halt!
On the other hand, viruses, which are also attained through downloaded software and opened email attachments, infect the different pieces of software on your computer and may cause you to lose important data. The thing about viruses is that they may also spread to other PCs in your network using a “worm”. This can happen without any interaction from the user, and can cause major problems and even hours of downtime for a business with more than a handful of computers. Many of these viruses have also been used to “take over PCs” and use them to send out mass spam emails as well as to inundate your PC with spyware to grab your personal information.
The risk of having either of these infect your PC(s) can be greatly reduced by having properly updated Anti-Virus software installed on your PC as well as software updates, and Windows Updates.