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Malware is an umbrella term for any malicious software written specifically to infect and harm the host system or its user. A computer virus is just one type of malware. Just as all squares are rectangles (but not all rectangles are squares), all viruses are malware, but not all malware is a virus.
A computer virus is software usually hidden within another seemingly innocuous program that can produce copies of itself and insert them into other programs or files, and that usually performs a harmful action (such as destroying data).
The virus writes its own code into the host program. When the program runs, the written virus program is executed first, causing infection and damage. A computer worm does not need a host program, as it is an independent program or code chunk. Therefore, it is not restricted by the host program, but can run independently and actively carry out attacks.
The best-known types of malware, viruses and worms, are known for the manner in which they spread, rather than any specific types of behavior. A computer virus is software that embeds itself in some other executable software (including the operating system itself) on the target system without the user’s knowledge and consent and when it is run, the virus is spread to other executables. On the other hand, a worm is a stand-alone malware software that actively transmits itself over a network to infect other computers and can copy itself without infecting files. These definitions lead to the observation that a virus requires the user to run an infected software or operating system for the virus to spread, whereas a worm spreads itself
A Trojan horse is a harmful program that misrepresents itself to masquerade as a regular, benign program or utility in order to persuade a victim to install it. A Trojan horse usually carries a hidden destructive function that is activated when the application is started.
Trojan horses are generally spread by some form of social engineering, for example, where a user is duped into executing an e-mail attachment disguised to be unsuspicious, (e.g., a routine form to be filled in), or by drive-by download. Although their payload can be anything, many modern forms act as a backdoor, contacting a controller (phoning home) which can then have unauthorized access to the affected computer, potentially installing additional software such as a keylogger to steal confidential information, cryptomining software or adware to generate revenue to the operator of the trojan.
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