Descriptions of Malware Terms

There are a lot of terms used to describe the various forms of malicious code that may at some point affect your computer. We understand that, for the most part, the average user is not concerned with the specific technical reasons why their computer is slow, crashing, or won’t even start up; they just want it fixed. However, an ounce of prevention can really be worth a pound of cure when it comes to keeping malicious code off your system. When choosing a remedy, it may help to understand some of the basic terms in order to know what protections your current software provides.


Malware is the generic name for all types of malicious programs including, but not limited to: adware, backdoors, rogues, trojans, viruses and worms.

Adware (or Spyware)

Adware or spyware is a small program that is designed to deliver advertisements (in various form and degrees of intrusiveness) on your computer. These may include browser pop-ups, ads on webpages, and false alerts. Adware often includes means to record and reports personal information back to its originators. As a result your sense of privacy can be violated. For example, adware may include keystroke logging functions that record what you type, or browser history monitoring to record what websites you visit.


A backdoor is a program used to gain unauthorized access to a computer by bypassing access security mechanisms. It may give the attacker almost unlimited control over a system. While it can be used to spy on a user, it is mainly used to install other malware on the system.


A rogue program is malicious software disguised as something legitimate. For example, a rogue may be presented to the user as a trustworthy anti-spyware program or registry cleaner. But in fact, such programs are designed to scare users into buying software through exaggerated claims about the apparent vulnerability of the computer based on erroneous scan results. Or, worse still, a rogue may actually put malware in your system and try to sell you a solution to remove it.


A trojan (or Trojan horse) is a malicious program that pretends to have a particular legitimate function, but then reveals a destructive purpose when it is opened or run. A Trojan may be posed as a music or movie download, a picture, a software update or a useful program. By posing as a useful or desirable product, the trojan lures the user into opening or running it. Trojans may compromise a system in a number of ways, which may be designed to create opportunities for other malware, or simply to limit the user’s ability to use the computer effectively. Trojans cannot multiply themselves, which differentiates them from viruses and worms.


A virus is a malicious program that multiplies itself (usually without limit, and sometimes exponentially) and may attach itself to other legitimate programs after being opened or run.  Because of this attachment, viruses may be “contracted” from almost any digital source. It is the parasitic nature of this form of malware which has earned it the terms “virus” and “infection”. Viruses may cause various degrees of damage to your computer by overwhelming system resources and denying user control.


A worm is often characterized as a malicious application that will use a host machine to infect other machines. E-mail and instant messaging programs are ideal candidates for attack by worms. Worms may attach to messages and send themselves to any available e-mail addresses or screennames. Therefore worms can create enormous damage on networks with multiple computers, including the Internet. Although worms are often designed to simply compromise and overwhelm networks, they may or may not have spyware functions as well.

Anti-Malware Services from L & L Computers and Design

L & L has extensive experience in resolving and preventing malware attacks on a variety of computing platforms. We feature robust and varied options for neutralizing common malware threats. We may perform any of the following procedures:

  1. Identify malware infections
  2. Isolate infected systems
  3. Backup important data
  4. Remove and/or quarantine infected files
  5. Repair damaged operating systems or applications
  6. Install system security patches or updates
  7. Install anti-malware protection software
  8. Schedule automatic scans and updates to provide ongoing protection
  9. If you have questions or would like to request a system analysis, please call us at (570) 955-0339 to schedule an appointment. Free estimates are available.