Malware vs. Adware

Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

Malware and adware are two very annoying types of malicious code, found in many people's computers. What are they and how can we prevent them from infecting our own devices? That's what we'll be learning in this lesson.

Malware vs. Adware

It's happened again! Ben's mom has called him up to ask how to fix her slow computer. Ben suspects that malware and adware have caused the computer's speed to slow to a grinding halt because she couldn't be bothered to use antivirus software. While he's over there, Ben tries to explain what has happened to her computer and how to avoid this from becoming a problem again.

Ben's mom asks 'What's malware and adware?' and he begins to explain.

Malware

Ben explains to his mom that malware is a harmful piece of software written with the intention of infecting someone's computer. This is also known as malicious code. It's a catch-all term that covers different types of computer programs. For example, viruses are a piece of code that spreads itself to other computers when run. These can be shared by email attachments, CDs, USB drives, or just about any other method of sharing information. Spyware is designed to monitor a computer for information gathering purposes, such as figuring out what websites a person uses and what the passwords might be.

Ben's mom mentioned that she had recently been downloading a few games to play. Ben suspects that these games contain Trojan horse programs. These programs are designed to appear as a safe program but include malicious code. It's important to understand that malware types can describe what the code does or how it is transferred. Different kinds can be involved in the same infection. Upon further inspection, it appears that the games are legitimate programs but contain additional programs known as adware.

Adware

Thinking that the games were safe, Ben's mom downloaded a game that was advertised as free because of ad supporting. Adware is a type of malware that creates revenue for the author by forcing the computer to display advertisements. In some instances this may not be intended by the author to cause harm, such as in Ben's mom's game. However, the end result is that the adware is still tying up his mom's computer system resources and slowing things down. More malicious variations can be so annoying that the computer is largely unusable because of constant advertisements appearing on the screen.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support