Tech 101: Learn About Computer Viruses - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. These days there is very little difference between spyware, viruses, trojans and malware. Malware sort of encompasses everything these days, it is a short term for malicious software and it basically means anything that gets into your system that is going to mess you up. Viruses come in and they mess with your filing system. In other words they make things stop happening. A new phrase that I just learned recently is called scareware and most viruses that I see these days come to you in the form of scareware. Scareware is a program that impersonates a security program to scare you into buying it. And again most viruses look like that now. They will pop up in your system, impersonating an anti-virus program, they come with a multitude of names and the names change all the time. But basically, it comes up with a warning that says you have been infected, it begins to scan your system and it encourages you to click on a button which is going to take you to a website which is going to try to sell you a virus protection program. The virus protection program it is trying to sell you is bogus. It strictly wants your money. They are not going to hack your credit card and max it out, they are just going to take out the sixty-nine, ninety-five but it is gone and you will not get it back. And it will not fix the computer. In most cases it makes things worse. Spyware was developed to literally spy on you. It is trying to get demographic information. Generally, not personal information because then it can throw ads at you and try to sell you things that, obviously, you do not want. If you are a man and you go to a motorcycle parts site and you get infected with spyware, the advertisements that you probably are going to see are going to have ladies with bikinis on. If you are a lady and you go to a site for recipes and you get attacked by spyware, you are probably going to see ads for weightloss products and wrinkle creams. So what they are really looking for is your demographic. Now, again, this is all, kind of, one in the same these days. The pop ups that you see, generally, are not trying to sell you products as much as security software which again is the virus. The other phrase that you will hear, the other term that you will hear is trojan and it is referring to the Trojan Horse. In other words, the virus is going to sneak in to your system and it is just going to hide some place in your system, waiting for the right moment, then it is going to attack. And again, once it attacks it will look like these other viruses with some sort of impersonation of a security program.