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March 2019

What is a Malware and Virus?

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Regardless of what you call it, most people know you don’t want a malware or a virus hanging around. Then why is it important to understand the difference between the two? One simple reason is you can protect your computer from a virus, but not be protected from a malware. Why? Because all viruses are malwares, but not all malwares are viruses. Allow me to explain.

What is a Malware

Malware, short for malicious software, is written by cyber criminals with the intention of gaining access or causing damage to a computer or network, often without you even knowing you’ve been compromise. This malicious software is written differently depending on the goal(s) of the perpetrator. For example, a malware appropriately named ransomware is written in a way that once your computer or network is infected you are locked out and unable to access your data until you pay a ransom. Another example is those annoying pop ups’ you get almost forcing you to click on that advertisement link, is a malware called adware. There are many other variations of malware including trojan horse, spyware, wiper, worm, botnet, keyloggers, rootkits, and fraudtools, written with different objectives.

What is a Virus

One of the most recognized names of all malwares is the virus made popular in the 80’s and 90’s. This malware is written with the intention of altering the way your computer operates and spreads itself across a network without the user’s involvement. Over the past few decades the virus has become less frequent compared to other malwares, but its name continues to be used synonymously with malwares. “My computer has a virus” often means your computer has a malware.

How to protect yourself

There are best practices such as security awareness training to avoid phishing, a “is this software safe?” search before downloading a program or app, keeping your software up to date, using strong passwords, backing up your computer, and using a firewall. One of the most reliable ways to protect your data is through the use of anti-malware and anti-virus software. Anti-virus software is about preventing viruses from being downloaded or opened on your computer or network. If a virus becomes active it’s difficult for the anti-virus software to detect its presence. Anti-malware on the other hand is designed to take malware, including a virus, out of an infected computer. Think of it as anti-virus is about prevention while anti-malware is about correction. That said, it is advised to use both for the best protection. If you are interested in learning more about the software available, check out PC Magazine’s “The Best Malware Removal and Protection Software for 2019” at https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/354226/the-best-malware-removal-and-protection-tools

While speaking with a friend Jason about malware vs. virus, he made a comparison to spiders. This helped me make the “all viruses are malwares, but not all malwares are viruses” statement easier to understand. Think of this, all Daddy Long Legs are spiders, but not all spiders are Daddy Long Legs.

Next up: What is a firewall?

Click here for our previous post, “What is XaaS?”

What is XaaS?

What is XaaS?

By | Uncategorized

Every industry has its terms and acronyms, information technology (IT) and telecommunications being no expectation. There is even a popular industry book “Newton’s Telecom Dictionary” now on its 31st edition with over 30,000 terms defined. The as-a-service (“aaS”) model, in the context of cloud computing, is a term that refers to a service(s) being made available over the Internet via the cloud. The “X” is a placeholder representing virtually anything and everything.

You can replace the X with just about any letter of the alphabet and you will likely find it is a service. I randomly picked the letter T which, as it turns out, is “testing”, who knew? The X can also represent services with more than one letter, such as: disaster recovery (DRaaS), business continuity (BCaaS), information technology (ITaaS), database (DBaaS), etc.

Perhaps the most popular “aaS” is SaaS, pronounced “sas” not S-A-A-S. Although the S can represent many services including search, security, and storage, it is more commonly recognized as Software-as-a-Service.This particular service has been made popular thanks to recognizable household services like Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Twitter and although debated Facebook. In business you hear names like: DocuSign, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Office 365, Zendesk, GoToMeeting, Workday, HubSpot & Intuit (QuickBooks, TurboTax, etc.) Beyond SaaS, some of the other common “aaS” include backup (BaaS), desktop (DaaS), infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS), and unified communications (UCaaS).

The benefits of “aaS” are many including lower cost, speed of deployment, seamless upgrades, no infrastructure required and its accessibility from multiple devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc.).

Next up: What is a malware and virus?

Click here for our previous post, “What is Mobile Device Management?”