Everyone worries about getting a virus on their computer. It's just a standard of current technology. It becomes especially worrisome when more and more of our every day devices becomes perpetually online. Our phones, our game systems, our tvs, hell even our refrigerators and thermostats are online in some cases. I don't want to plagiarize anyone so for a fairly easy to follow description of the 'difference' between the 2 check out this article on pcworld.com. Click Here
If you don't feel like reading I will summarize. In the technical sense a virus is malware, since malware is broadly defined as a malicious program.
They can come in many forms, rootkits, which are malicious code that hides in the root of the system (hence the name) in an attempt to hide from antivirus software. A worm, which is capable of replicating itself to spread to other systems. Adware, which is typically the source of some or all of those annoying popups you may be getting on your computer. Ransomware, programs that 'take over' your system and prevent you from being able to use it while attempting to extort money from you (the now infamous FBI ransomware is a prime example of this). Scareware, typically programs that claim they will 'speed up your pc' or network, etc. but in reality either slow it down or find problems that dont really exist in an attempt to get you to buy them, the bad part is, after you pay for them they typically install even more junk on your system.
There are those we have all or most heard of, either via the news, friends, maybe family. Ones like ZeroAccess, Blaster, Melissa, ILOVEYOU, Nimda, and so on.
Then there are some that you may even have on your system right now and not even realize it. Some examples that come to mind are Strongvault, we-care, any of the toolbars from a company called Mindspark, if you have ever tried installing a toolbar that claimed it would let you watch tv online for free or Watch any movie you want right now...there a good chance you have some type of adware on your system.
What other things should you look for? Does your computer:
-seem to be running slower than normal
-are you getting excessive popups
-are you getting Blue Screen of Death
-Repeated warnings from your Antivirus even after it claims to have cleaned something
If any of the above apply to you, it may be time to give me a call to have it checked out.
I would also be remiss not to say this, a lot of Mac owners are under the impression that Macs do not get viruses, and I would like to point out this is absolutely NOT true. In fact the more prevalent Mac systems become the more malware is being written to specifically target them. I would strongly advise, if you are a Mac owner to research Mac compatible Antivirus software. While I am sure there are many out there, I know for a fact that Norton and Sophos make AVs for Macs and I am sure most other major AV companys do also.