Viruses, Malware, and Spyware Oh My!

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MalwareThe terms virus, spyware, and malware nowadays are almost interchangable. Generally the all encompassing term is malware. The lines have been blurred on what a virus is. Today things that affect our computers are so broad "malware" or badware is the best way to describe them.

People always ask me how to keep their computers clean and running smoothly.  The good news is that there are a lot of programs out there.  The bad news is there are much more programs out there are masquerade as "good" programs but actually are malware.  I'm going to give you some good places to get these programs as well as some of the programs I use.


  • - Free site for personal use only.  Here you can download and install all the programs you choose in one fell swoop.  Saves time and headache.
  • - A few years ago they went completely non-spyware.  Every program on the site completely spyware free.


All these programs are available through or

  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - Free version cleans malware.  Paid version has real-time protection.
  • AVG Anti-Virus - Free version cleans viruses, malware, and has real-time protection.  Paid version has identity protection and internet security.
  • Super Anti-Spyware - Free version cleans malware.  Paid version has real-time protection.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials - Microsoft's malware defense program.  I usually don't like Microsoft products, but this one is very good.  It cleans and had real-time protection.  Only problem is that it doesn't work with AVG.
  • Avast Anti-Virus - Another free anti-virus program.  Not too familiar with this one, but many people like it and you can't beat free!
  • Spybot Search & Destroy - One of the original spyware programs.  Cleans and offers real-time protection.
  • Ad-Aware - Also a good free program for malware.  It cleans and has real-time protection.  Paid version benefits features automatic updates.
  • SpywareBlaster - One of the only immunization programs out there.  This program protects you computer from getting infected.  Paid version has automatic updates.

Here is a good site for ranking of virus protection programs.

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Posted by: Etienne Douglas

Etienne is the Webstar Coordinator/Community Library Specialist at the Marin City Library.

This is an official blog for the Marin County Free Library.

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