Malware may be included with free screensavers that generate advertisements, malicious web browser toolbars that take your browser to different pages than the ones you expect, or keylogger programs that can transmit your personal data to malicious parties.
Spyware collects data on you and the websites you visit and returns all of that data to the host website. And viruses just want to find a way to spread to other computers.
Adware is advertising delivered directly to your computer. Generally, a program puts ads on the screen at some regular interval. In some cases, this program can be installed without the user's knowledge, but not always.
Adware tends to be a "grey area" in the malware family. Yes, it can run without the user's knowledge, and yes, it can bog down the system. At the same time, adware is generally more open about what it does; giving the user the choice to install the program the adware is attached to.
Adware is most often tied into Internet Explorer somehow. The ads that appear are browser windows.
One of the things that "Malware" can do is to force your computer to work harder, taking power away from our programs. But most importantly, malware runs "under the hood" and behind your back, so that you don't even know that it's there.
There are plenty of reasons why malware is "bad." but at time malware is valid and legal.
If the adware is legitimate, then it has to be explicitly displayed in the install, and the user has to have the option of not installing it. This is where adware earned it's poor reputation. Many adware programs simply install alongside the ad-supported program, without ever informing the user. The user is then surprised by the constant barrage of pop-up ads on his computer when he isn't even visiting websites and the collection of strange programs on the hard drive that he doesn't remember installing.
The key factor in whether or not malware is "legitimate:" If the user has no problem giving demographics information for a program he enjoys using, then the spyware that comes with that program is legal and accepted. However, if another user then sits at the same computer--one who doesn't know the spyware is there--then it's no longer a legitimate program. The person being spied upon by the spyware, or forced to view the pop-ups delivered by the adware, has to understand and accept what the program is going to do.
In Summary Malware and Spyware will Cause these Problems
* Malicious code that can invade your PC so they can not be removed, but take up your hard drive space and slow down your PC!
* Will allow unauthorized sites to add themselves to your desktop programs.
* May allow Unauthorized sites from adding themselves to your internet favorites list.
* May allow unwanted toolbars and searchbars to attach themselves to your browser without your knowledge or approval.
* Your browsing activity can be tracked and monitored thus stealing your identity, one piece at a time. Your personal information can be sold to other parties without your knowledge or consent
* Your default homepage and settings can be hijacked so you can't change them
If you are experiencing any of these problems, contact Seek Your Geek today!