Viruses vs. Malware vs. Spyware: Comparisons and Contrasts

Beyond Prevention—Find and Eradicate
Hidden Malware

Malware, spyware, or a virus – there are so many definitions to know when it comes to computer security.

What is Malware?

Malware is the umbrella term for any type of malicious software. They are highly sophisticated and can take many different shapes and forms. While antivirus and antispyware programs excel at preventing new infections, they often fail to fix already affected PCs. However, dedicated anti-malware software can detect and remove threats that’ve already made it onto your computer by scanning the contents of the Windows registry, operating system files, and installed programs. This makes it a strategic companion to use with antivirus and antispyware programs currently on your PC. Understanding the differences between various types of malware can help to better identify these threats

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware prevents you from accessing your PC, either by locking your screen or your files until you pay money to an anonymous hacker.

What is Spyware?

Spyware is invasive software that hides on your PC and monitors your online activity, collecting keystrokes, passwords, and even internet surfing habits. It adds illicit backdoor components to your programs and sites.

What is a Virus?

Viruses damage your hard drive and system performance, and can cost you large sums of money due to hours of computer repair work and possible replacement. They are designed to spread from one computer to another.

What is Adware?

Adware—Are you redirected to a particular page or see unexpected pop-up ads when you start your browser? You’re likely dealing with adware, which gets you to click on fraudulent ads and significantly slows down your computer.

What is a Trojan?

Trojans masquerade as benign files or applications and then create digital backdoors that allow hackers to steal your personal data, files, and even use your computer to send out spam.

What are Rootkits?

Rootkits are software packages that allow malware to hide on your computer so you can’t remove it. Rootkits keep malware from even showing up on your computer’s list of active processes.

Given the sophistication of the malware discussed above, fighting malicious software in today’s world means staying informed. Whether it’s ransomware, a virus, or a Trojan, battling malware is a full-time profession for iolo technologies. Our software safeguards your personal data.

Most antivirus software only blocks malware—Malware Killer removes it. Learn more about our Anti-Malware: Detection, Prevention & Removal Tool now.

Need a PC Mechanic?

Let our experts help you

LiveTech is our affordable, 24/7 premium technical support that can help you solve virtually any technology issue. Let our utility software experts help to remove malware; set up Amazon Echo/Alexa; optimize printers, modems, and routers; block browser popups and adware, and more.

Learn More

Available 24/7
People using laptop overhead view

What is iolo's Whole Home License?

The Whole Home License® is iolo’s licensing policy that allows you to install and keep your software running on all of your compatible devices within the same home. Previously, users were allowed to install and license their iolo software simultaneously on a maximum of three PCs. Under the Whole Home License, a single activation key allows you to use your iolo software on all of your PCs, other than any PCs you use for business purposes. What you need to know about Whole Home Licensing

  • You, your spouse, and your relatives living within the same household may use the same license on any number of PCs that you own which are not used for business.
  • For full legal terms and conditions, see

To install your iolo product on additional PCs:

  1. On the additional computer, download the latest version of your iolo product. Choose from the list of downloads offered here.
  2. Follow the steps in the installation wizard, and enter the same Activation Key that you used to install on your original computer.

You can view the Activation Key on the original computer from within System Mechanic > red menu bar > key icon > Activation Key.