This page is intended to educate users about Windows based viral or malicious software.
Types of Infection
A computer virus has become the term that is applied to any sort of infection. A virus is very distinctive because it replicates itself, unlike many other infections. The goal of a virus is to create copies of itself and inject into multiple files causing growing damage. Today, many users will deem any suspicious activity a "virus". Below you will find other forms of infection that are more specific to their intent.
Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code. It typically serves no other purpose other than to ask you to purchase various kinds of paid software. The term "computer virus" is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of malware, including true viruses.
Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on computers and collects information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer.
A Trojan is a program that appears to be legitimate, but in fact does something malicious. Quite often, that something malicious involves gaining remote, surreptitious access to a user's system. Unlike viruses, a Trojan does not replicate (i.e. infect other files), nor does it make copies of itself as worms do.
In contrast to viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files. For example, a mass-mailing email worm is a worm that sends copies of itself via email. A network worm makes copies of itself throughout a network, an Internet worm sends copies of itself via vulnerable computers on the Internet, and so on.
The simplest form of removal is to run an application that will scan the processes and files of a computer. Most of these applications use an updating database which helps in identifying new malware.
- The Stevens Helpdesk recommends: Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. This software is free and is available to everyone. For instructions on how to install and use Malwarebytes, please read this guide.
- We also recommend: AVG Anti-Virus. A free version of this software is available from here. Undergraduate students and all faculty/staff have access to a licensed version, available from storage01. Please refer to AVG Anti-Virus for instruction on attaining and using AVG software.
- Mac users can see the iAntiVirus article for information about the iAntivirus software distributed on the Class of 2014 MacBook Pro.
- If your computer still has McAfee Anti-Virus or Anti-Spyware software, instructions are available in the McAfee AntiVirus article.