Malware vs Adware | The Differences Inside

Share on:

We often get confused about identifying Malware and Adware. Though Adware is detectable in every case, users get confused between Adware and Malware. Adware and Malware are two basic programming things that could easily harm your computer. Sometimes developers could steal your data by attacking your computer through them! Let’s have a look at the difference between Malware and Adware.

Malware vs Adware | The Differences

Definition of Malware

Malicious software, commonly known as Malware. It is designed and produced for damaging, destroying, stealing data, and taking control of computers and networks. According to statistics from 2017, 32% of the world’s computers are infected with some type of malware. Malware uses various techniques to infiltrate operating systems and files.

Definition of Adware

Adware means advertisement software in short it is called Adware. Commonly used as a marketing tool across the web. Adware with potentially unwanted applications is marked harmful to computers. According to statistics 3% of the world’s computers are infected by Adware.

Working Process

Working Process of Malware

Typical Malware infects machines and devices by tricking the user to click or install a program from the internet. After that clicks or installations, Malware starts to execute actions that the user didn’t intend. In some cases, Malware is disguised as a trustworthy program. Malware can harm user’s machines or devices by;

  • Self-replication in different parts of the file system,
  • Installs keystroke capturing applications that cause system slowing down,
  • Blocking access to files, programs, or even the system.

Working Process of Adware

Adware starts spreading on users’ devices and machines when the user downloads freeware and shareware which contains adware or visits adware-infected websites. After being downloaded on the user’s computer adware starts tracking websites visited by the user and creating more targeted advertisements. Adware may harm the user device by;

  • Appearing on a device or machine screen and showing some random advertisement.
  • Malicious Adware uses web browsers or pop-ups to trick a user on an NSFW (Not Safe for Work) page to download or uninstall unwanted plugins, applications, and software.
  • Adware can play a supportive role in the entrance of malicious programs into the user device.
  • In some cases, Developers of malicious adware steal users’ important personal information (e.g. credit card info, passwords, contacts, browsing history) to sell them to third parties.


History of Malware

The malware was first introduced as a virus. The concept of Malicious Software was first introduced by John von Neumann In the year of 1949 as he designed a self-replicating computer program. In 1971, The creeper virus was created by Bob Thomas. In the history of Personal computers, Malware was first introduced to IBM PC in the year 1986, by the Farooq Alvi brothers in Pakistan. They made a virus named Brain A. Brain A was the first malware virus of the modern internet era. , In the last 30 years, malware has been developed by many programmers, software engineers, and hackers.

History of Adware

On the other side, Adware was first introduced by some developers for commercially advertising through the internet. Later, many tech experts marked adware as spyware, because adware enables its developer to collect, convert, store or use information from computers without the user’s knowledge. The pop-up advertisement was first introduced in the year 1997 by Ethan Zuckerman. Later in 2005-2008, The use of Adware spread uncontrollably. After that most companies created distance from


Types of Malware

You may find many kinds of malware, but there are 7 common types of malware;

  • Virus
  • Worms
  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Keyloggers
  • Rootkits
  • Spyware.

Types of Adware

Adware is a kind of Malware. There is 2 kind of adware;

  • Legitimate adware
  • Potentially unwanted applications (PUA)


Prevention of Malware

Anti-malware Software, Firewall, avoiding dodgy sources, and keeping’ update all plug-ins and software could be effective ways to prevent malware.

Prevention of Adware

To have protection from Adware, a premium ad blocker that helps to avoid pop-ups and keep the device away from NSFW (Not Safe for Work) sites.   


According to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), 154 countries have already enacted laws for preventing Malware and Cybercrime.

Among the countries, Guam and Puerto Rico have passed laws to prevent Adware and Spyware. There are 20 US states already have laws to prevent Adware.


Malware vs Adware Summary

First Introduced19491995
First appearance asVirusSpyware
EntrancewayInternet and Programs, Online-OfflineOnly through internet
AccessAll the files, programs, systemat the screen, in some cases in full device
UsingCompletely NegativeUsed in both ways, negative and affirmative.
AffectsCrashing the whole system, Sometimes block access to filesSlows down devices, Cause disturbance while internet surfing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: – Can Adware Steal Information?

Ans:- Yes, In some cases developers and hackers get access to users’ information without their permission. Sometimes they sell user data to third parties.

Q2: – Is it possible to get rid of Adware?

Ans:- Yes, It is possible to get rid of Adware! Enabling Firewall, A premium Ad blocker or pop-up blocker and a premium antivirus could help to get rid of adware.

Q3: – Is Adware worse than Malware?

Ans:- No, Adware is not worse than Malware. Though Adware is a kind of Malware, There are so many kinds or types of Malware (e. g. Virus, Trojan, Worm, etc) and adware is one of them!

Q4: – Is Adware Illegal?

Ans:- In countries like Guam, Puerto Rico, and some states of the US adware and spyware are controlled by the law.

Q5: – What are examples of Malware?

Ans:- All types of computer viruses, worms, ransomware that are harmful to computers and devices are marked as malware.


After looking up all the differences between Malware and Adware, you may determine that Adware can be used affirmatively sometimes. When Malware is only used in negative ways. They both can be harmful to devices. To protect your computer and device from the harm of malware and adware you can use an upgraded firewall, a strong premium anti-virus. Keeping updated plugins would help to prevent malware and adware.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.