You would be excused to think the difference between virus and malware programs is negligible and of no consequence in the light of the fact that both can be dangerous to the ongoing operation of your business in the age of the ever-increasing reliance on digital technologies. Although both terms are often used interchangeably, there is, in fact, a technical difference between virus and malware applications. Continue reading to learn more.
What’s the Difference Between a Virus and Malware?
So, what’s the difference between a virus and malware then? Well, “malware” is an umbrella term used to describe all kinds of malicious software, including viruses, regardless of how it works, how it is delivered to your systems or what its goals are. Viruses are a specific type of malware that proliferate by attaching themselves (infecting) perfectly legitimate programs and files, similar to how the animal kingdom viruses infect healthy living creatures to spread – hence the name “computer virus”. In simpler terms, all viruses are “malware”, but not every malware is a “virus”.
Virus vs Malware – An Overview of the Difference Between Virus and Malware Programs
Where the question of virus vs malware is concerned, both can have lasting short and long-term effects on the ongoing operation of your business. Malware can have range of objectives – it may try to steal your personal or financial data, encrypt your important files and prevent you from opening them to hold you at ransom, attempt to scare you into paying for software you do not need, spam your system with unwanted advertising or spy on you, by for example, quietly recording your keyboard input to steal your logins, passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive data. What is worse, new types of fileless, and click-less malware have begun to emerge as recently as 2018. This new malware does not require you to download and open or even click on any infected files, leveraging vulnerabilities in trusted system software already present on your computers, which allows it to attack your business without triggering any security, virus or malware alerts. The aim of viruses specifically, is typically to damage or destroy your system by infecting executable files (the files you use to start your programs and apps), or even Microsoft Office documents. Where malware in general will most likely attempt to take advantage of you, viruses specifically are mostly concerned with causing as much damage as possible.
Virus vs Malware – Implications for the Ongoing Continuity of Your Business
Regardless of whether your systems are infected by ransomware or a destructive virus, there are several implications of a potential attack you, as a business owner, should be aware of. First, you need to be able to protect your digital assets from even becoming infected or compromised to minimise risks, and second, you need to be able to recover from a hypothetical attack as quickly as possible so that your business experiences only minimal downtime. Naturally, the best-case scenario is that you never come under attack at all, but considering that even the largest of organisations with incredibly large information technology and security budgets have been experienced system and data breaches in the last decade, this can be difficult to guarantee. The name of the game is threat mitigation – managed services providers such us here at Connected Platforms can work with your organisation to pro-actively work on keeping your systems and your data as protected and secure as possible at any given time. Simultaneously, we can ensure your data and your systems can be quickly restored to full operation, allowing you to continue working without disruption.
We hope you have found our outline of the difference between virus and malware programs informative. You can protect your business or organisation from these threats with our help. Call Connected Platforms on (07) 3062 6932 and ask us about our suite of small business IT support services, we offer managed IT services Brisbane business owners like you trust to deliver business continuity solutions in the face of ever-increasing digital threats.