What’s a virus? What’s a worm? Does it matter?

You probably already know that to keep your computer safe, you need to:

 But we can also be tricked into installing malicious software (malware) ourselves. 

Last month Ed Bott posted an interesting piece about this in his Microsoft Report blog. He also makes a compelling argument that the difference between viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojans doesn’t matter as much as it used to. They’re all nasty and all we want to do is to keep them off our computers.

For more information, see Trojans, viruses, worms: How does malware get on PCs and Macs?

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    I have all kinds of antivirus software (started with macafee, downloaded and used microsoft malicious software removal tool, downloaded and used mircrosoft security essentials) but they all say my computer is fine.  However, I must still have a worm of sorts since my ms outlook is emailing bogus links to my contacts.  Any suggestions?

  2. Anonymous

    Janice, someone has hacked into your account and got your email address and password.  More than likely, they got it from Facebook, My Space, Twitter, Tweets, Linked In, ir some other social networking site.  Change all your passwords and delete your email account and start a new one through your ISP.  Avoid all social networking sites and the problem will go away.


  3. Anonymous

    RE: janice.  I too have all kinds of virus protection, the same kind you do from MS. My e-mail did the same thing, mailed out thousands of e-mail to everyone in my address book. I have Windows Live Mail, Outlook and Earthlink Total Access Mail and I had the problem with all three.  I had to change my password on all three mail services.  This also included my password to log onto my home page.  It was a pain but it stopped almost 99 % of the mailings.

    in abo

  4. Anonymous


    have a worm on my home computer and its now on my lap top help needed

  5. Anonymous

    Janice, I use this and it's free.  

    Perform a quick  scan;  Using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware while your computer is running in Safe Mode With Networking. (You may need to print out this article if you are not familiar with how to enter Windows Safe Mode)

    -Click on the Start button and select 'Shut Down' from the menu ('Turn off Computer' in XP). The 'Shut Down Windows' dialog box will appear.

    – Select 'Shut down' (or, 'Turn Off' in XP) and click the 'Yes' (or 'OK') button.

    -When the computer starts back up, begin immediately by pressing the F8 key repeatedly until the Windows Startup menu appears with various options.

    -By using the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, select 'Safe Mode with Networking'.

    -Login to your account (if asked).

    -Wait and eventually Windows will start in Safe Mode With Networking.

    Once in Windows Safe Mode With Networking, run Malwarebytes.

    -Select quick scan.

    -Repair any infections found.

    Then run Malwarebytes in the normal mode.  If  you find anything delete it.

    Then open explorer and go to tool, internet options, advanced, reset.

    Hit F8 till it gets in safe mode.

    Go down to safe mode internet,

    Open up Malware bites.

    Let it run, then delete what it found.

    Turn off the computer, than restart it, then run Malware bites again. It should be OK.  

    Then open up explorer.  Go to tools, advance, at the bottom hit reset.  

  6. Anonymous

    Try using "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware"

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