WhatIs: Malware and Virus

Software

Software refers to a collection of data or instructions, which control what a computer does.


Malware

Malware, short for malicious software, is software that has instructions designed to mistreat the user or harm the computer.


Virus

virus, or computer virus, refers to malware that can copy itself and spread those copies to other computers.


As described above, malware is essentially data. So theoretically, malware can be spread through any channel between computers that data, or in another word, files can be transmitted. Typical examples of such channels are USB flash drives, optical discs, floppy disks, wired network, wireless network using WiFi or Bluetooth technology. Viruses can't infect computers that don't access to any of such channels.

Anti-virus software or anti-malware software is a collection of data or instructions to deal with virus or malware that has been seen. There is no guarantee that it can deal with virus or malware unseen. So it needs to be updated frequently. An uninfected computer doesn't need any anti-virus software or anti-malware software to function.


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