What Is the Difference Between Malware & Spyware?

Malware is a blanket term that is used to describe a number of malicious types of software, including adware, spyware, viruses, trojans and more. Spyware is a specific type of malware, but is quite different from most other malicious software because of what it is designed to do.

Purpose

Most malware is designed to cause harm to your computer in some way. Many programs can damage your computer by accident, but malware’s sole purpose is to cause errors, slow your computer down or spread viruses. Spyware’s purpose comes from its name, and is designed to watch your actions. Spyware will look at what sites you visit, and in more extreme cases, track what you type to steal your passwords and personal information.

Effects

Malware like viruses and trojans will generally just cause problems with your computer itself, such as slowing it down or causing errors. Spyware collects your personal information, and can therefore cause much more long-term damage by giving other people access to your online accounts, bank information and more.

Prevention

 Trojans, viruses and similar malware can be transmitted in a variety of ways — from the websites you visit, programs you download and emails that you open. Because of this, they often have more points of entry and can more easily infect your system, and prevention entails using a firewall and making sure your antivirus program can work in the background to detect them automatically. Spyware can be a bit more tricky to detect, and it may infect your system without your knowledge. Antispyware programs are more effective in the removal stage, rather than for prevention.

Removal

While most malware can be scanned for and removed by an antivirus program, spyware is a bit better at hiding itself. To remove spyware, an updated antispyware program usually does the trick; antispyware programs are different from antivirus programs, so it’s helpful to have one of each on your computer. Antispyware programs also generally do not monitor your computer, and may only pick up spyware during system scans.

My favorite removal tools are a combination of a PC Optimization Tool along with a pretty decent Malware removal tool.
CCleanerCCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your PC.
I use this tool to clean up temp files, log files etc. all in one fell swoop. It also has a great registry checking tool which I have found really works well to remove those stale registry entries left behind especially if you are often installing and removing software. PS. Make sure to do a backup of your registry the first time you run the tool.
I use CCleaner in combination with Malwarebytes. A great free malware removal tool.
Malwarebytes

It Detects and eliminates malware your antivirus often misses and it removes rootkits and repairs the files they damage. Together these 2 tools do a stunning job of keep your PC running optimally without installing all sorts of extra services that eat up valuable resources. There are many other tools out there that also do a great job but these 2 are my favorite for the sole reason they are light on resources and quick & easy to use.

Click either of the images for links to the downloads or you can visit the websites below and read more about these great tools.