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Clarifying Differences between Viruses, Worms, Trojans and Bots

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Table of Contents

Contaminants with malicious intent have been around since the dawn of the Internet.

Malware, short for Malicious Software, is an umbrella term for these infectious programs. The purpose of these malware is to disrupt, or damage network and steal data.

Malware have a way of spreading by attaching themselves to our computers. They may surreptitiously come in as an email attachment or as a downloaded file; or they may exploit weaknesses in a network system and attack it head on.

Categories of Malware

Major categories of malware include viruses, worms, Trojans and bots. There is always confusion regarding which one does what.

Here is a detailed description of all of the categories:


A virus makes way into your computers by making itself a part of another program. It is good at hiding and propagates itself from one computer to another without being caught. From minor data loss to major Denial of Service (DoS) attack, it comes in a variety of severity levels. Normally, a virus is attached to a host file; it is only when you open this file that the viral code is executed.


A worm is quite similar to a virus. Both of these malware can replicate themselves and cause a similar nature of damage. However, a worm does not require any host to execute. It is a smart standalone program that either exploits a system’s vulnerability or tricks the user into opening it. It makes use of an operating system’s file transport feature to spread.


Named after a wooden Greek horse, Trojan is a type of malware that looks innocent on the outside but has malicious intent. It also tricks the user into opening them; once activated, can prove to be quite dangerous. From causing minor popup windows to data theft, it has got many spiteful functions. Moreover, it can also allow third parties to access your system.

One major point of difference between Trojan and virus and worm is that it does not replicate itself.


Bots, from robots, allow automation of tasks. From automatically gathering information to relaying automatic messages, they can be used for a variety of purposes. Bots with malicious intent can hijack the entire servers. This gives attackers remote control over the hijacked system. When activated, bots can allow attackers to get access to your password, carry out DoS attacks and a range of other malicious purposes.

With a thorough understanding of malware and how they work, we at Excel Tech Guru provide efficient malware and virus support. From 24/7 managed computer and IT support to premium quality antivirus support services, we have got all the IT solutions in the book.

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