Difference Between Adware and Spyware -

Adware vs Spyware

World Wide Web and computers have become a part of our life, assisting us in almost every aspect of our life from booking an airplane ticket, seeking medical advice, to automation of our homes and monitoring them from any location around the world. Along with that our interaction with software has taken a dramatic change over the past couple of decades, making us almost dependent on these strings of 1`s and 0`s and make software in charge of many critical activities of our lives. Spyware and Malware are also software, but developed having different purposes to fulfill; sometimes harmful.

More about Adware

Any computer software or program that supports advertising in its environment is recognized as an adware. This adware can be working in many forms, from pop-up in a browser to an embedded component in a software package. Adware programs may deliver its advertisements in the wizard during the installation process, and with parallel but optional installation of components of an advertising program during installation (McAfee installation with Adobe Flash player) or offering a hyperlink to get further components from a supported or affiliated vendor (AVG PC TuneUp advertised along AVG Antivirus), integrate advertising oriented toolbars to the web browsers (Ask.com toolbar) and so on.

One of the main forms of adware is to incorporate with freeware or shareware, bundled together. The shareware may display or direct to an advertisement during its startup or while using certain functions (Daemon Tools Lite redirects to Astroburn). In certain freeware, some of the components of the freeware might not be functional until the product license is bought and software is registered (AVG PC TuneUP). Most of the time, these software or programs are not harmful to your computer. However, there are instances that the adware might create harmful effects on the computer. Such an adware is categorized also under malware (a malicious software).

More about Spyware

Spyware, as the name implies, is software that spies on the user’s computer, and it is categorized as a malware. A spyware installed on a computer always poses a potential threat to the security of the computer and to user information. Usually spyware is installed on user`s computer without the knowledge of the user and operates well hidden, collects the computer activity and transmit to another party. Spyware is installed by deception of the user via the internet, through emails or by another user having access to the computer through a login in the network or on the same computer. Spyware normally collects information about the general activity on the computer, though its operation might extend as far as collecting passwords, credit card numbers and other secure details through keystrokes. It might record and transfer user`s internet browsing patterns, chat, emails and personal information to the other party.

Some spyware may be integrated into shareware and freeware bundled together. For installation, spyware uses the loopholes in JavaScript, Internet Explorer and Windows operating system itself. Once installed it might be difficult to remove spyware, changing the registry values in the Windows Registry the spyware might execute again at the startup circumventing the removal process.


What is the difference between Adware and Spyware?

• Adware displays or directs the users to an advertisement, while spyware performs espionage on the computer`s activity.

• Adware operates visible to the user, while the Spyware operates hidden.

• Generally adware does not pose a threat to the security of the computer or user information, while spyware does and are categorized as malicious software. (There may be instances of adware which acts like a spyware, which are categorized as malware.)