I don't know why but I have been inundated with people bringing in their computers that have Viruses, Spyware and Malware. Many of you non-techy people are probably wondering what the differences are and if they should be worried about it. Well, I'll do my best to explain.
A virus is a small program that is copied to your computer by email, web page, downloaded files or from another computer. This small program is malicious and will delete files, rename files, or change files. After it does this, it will try and replicate itself and send itself to other users. Most viruses come through email but have also traveled in flash drives and embedded themselves in music files like mp3's. If your computer isn't too badly infected, you can normally remove them easily.
Spyware is a small program that is copied to your computer just like a virus but spyware has a different function. Normally spyware is interested in feeding you advertisements and popups. Spyware will also track your internet usage. It will find out where you go and what kind of ads you would want to see and start showing you ads that match your interests. Sometimes they just feed you popup ads. Spyware normally isn't that harmful but if you have too many of these little guys running on your computer, it will bog down your PC to the point that it is no longer usable. Some spyware is easy to remove, others are harder.
Malware is a small program that is copied to your computer just like a virus and spyware but has malicious intent. Malware will feed you ads, will pretend that you have a virus, will pretend that it is a spyware removal tool, will pretend that it will fix your registry. Malware is dificult to remove and has become more and more destructive. Sometimes it can not be removed and the PC needs to be erased completely and re-installed.
If you have a Virus, Spyware or Malward, you should run these 3 programs to get it removed. These are the same 3 programs we use at work to find these bugs and stomp them out. All of them are free.
Spybot Search and Destroy