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Difference between Malware and Adware

Difference between Malware and Adware

If you use the internet on a regular basis, chances are you’ve come across malicious software or adware before. But what do these terms actually mean? Often times people mistakenly confuse the two types of digital threats, but there is an important distinction between malware and adware – one that could make all the difference when it comes to protecting yourself against digital security risks. In this blog post, we will cover exactly what makes each type of threat unique so that you can be better informed about how to spot cyber threats and keep your data secure.

What is Malware?

  • Malware is a type of malicious software designed to damage or disrupt a computer system. Malware can be hidden inside some downloadable files, bog down computer systems with overwhelming resources, and infect hardware components directly.
  • Malware authors are always looking for new strategies to get their programs installed on unsuspecting users’ machines, and they will use any method available, from exploiting security flaws in applications to social engineering tactics that manipulate the user directly.
  • The primary goal of malware is to gain access to personal or business information and capture private or sensitive data for the attackers’ benefit. Malware is one of the most persistent threats people face online, and it requires constant vigilance to combat its spread.

What is Adware?

Adware is unwanted software that can be installed without the user’s knowledge or consent. It can interfere with computer operations by displaying popup advertisements, changing browser settings, and causing other disruptions. Adware is often used by advertisers to track browsing habits on the internet and redirect users to pay-to-view websites. Adware generally comes bundled with a free download, such as music players, screensavers, games, or video viewing software. If you encounter Adware, it is important to take steps to remove it from your system in order to protect personal information.

Difference between Malware and Adware

Malware and adware are both programs that can be installed on a computer to cause harm, but they have different forms, motives, and properties.

  • Malware is designed to damage or hijack a computer system, while adware is typically used to track users’ online behavior in order to generate more personalized advertisements.
  • Malware is maliciously implemented onto a computer with the intent of stealing private information or impairing the device’s performance, whereas adware usually gains access when users download potentially unwanted software and can then run processes to display ads based on user browsing activity.

Malware poses much greater security threats than adware, as it has the capability of corrupting data or sending out malicious emails without user’s knowledge. Adware tends to be annoying but cannot do any real harm.


Malware and Adware are both malicious software that can cause damage to your computer. However, there are some key differences between the two. Malware is designed to infect and take control of your system, whereas adware only displays annoying advertisements. While both can be detrimental to your computing experience, malware is much more dangerous as it can lead to identity theft and further infections. Protect yourself by installing a reliable antivirus program and avoiding clicking on suspicious links or ads.

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