A computer virus is a form of malicious software – also referred to as malware. (Malware is a word derived from the combination of the words malicious, and software).
The forms of malware that anti-virus solutions protect against include the following. (All of these forms are commonly referred to simply as “viruses”).
- Viruses – a small program that attaches itself to another program or document and replicates with the potential to cause damage.
- Worms – specifically engineered to make extensive use of email to spread them rapidly.
- Trojans – programs that pretend to be something harmless but have a damaging or otherwise malicious intent.
- Zombies – programs that install themselves on machines, and remain dormant until some external event triggers them into action. Actions could include doing damage, or stealing your information and sending it to some predefined email account, or opening up remote control access portals to your machines.