“What’s the difference is between spyware and viruses?” people often ask.
A virus is vandalism. Or rather self-perpetuating vandalism. it doesn’t really do anything for anyone, including it’s creators. No one makes money on viruses. A virus just breaks into a computer and makes a big mess. It writes grafitti of code all over your data and registry. It damages computers by smashing your OS against the wall, so to speak. It also spreads. But no one makes a profit on it. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
On the other hand, spyware (including adware and trojan horses) can make money for its creators. Profit’s its aim. It spies on your computer–and therefore, you–trying to get credit card numbers or bank account numbers and passwords. Maybe it forces you (hijacks your browser) to go to a bogus search engine, so instead of Google or Yahoo or Live Search, only the Adware’s ineffective Search Engine, and all its advertisers will open. Your computer and you are therefore captives to the bogus search engine’s ads. Or with less malicious forms, it just collects information on your interests and sends you ads, specialized just for you. Or in the case of rogue anti-spyware, it pretends to be a legitimate anti-virus or anti-spyware, trying to get you to buy it, but really doesn’t work against any viruses or spyware, except ones that it deposited into your computer.
In the case of Windows XP Antivirus 2008/2009, it seems to be a combination of spyware and virus. It not only floods your computer with spyware and steals your credit card numbers, it also behaves like a virus and returns after you think you’ve gotten rid of it. It also, left untreated, trashes your computer like a virus. It’s a nasty.
I hope this makes things clearer.
Now be good little duckies and never go without anti-spyware and anti-virus protection…And stay away from porn sites and P2Ps, where you’re guaranteed to pick up terrible computer diseases. If you must go to porn sites, at least practice safe computer sex and use top of the line anti-spyware protection such as Spyware Doctor. Even if you never go to dangerous sites, your computer can pick up spyware almost anywhere and that is why anti-spyware is necessary for all computer. And for those who can’t live with a free P2P please use this one.