What is the difference between a Virus, Malware, and an Exploit?

Document created by parche Employee on May 15, 2017Last modified by jyamada on Jun 11, 2017
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To properly explain the difference between a Virus, a Malware, and an Exploit, we will first need to define each term. We will start to explain this very briefly:

  • Malware is software with bad intentions.
  • Virus is software that runs against your wishes and replicates itself.
  • An Exploit is a vulnerability in a code.


From these basic definitions, we can derive that a Virus is a form of Malware, but not all Malware are Viruses. A lot of Malware is classified as a PUP or Potentially Unwanted Program. Then an Exploit is how, or the entry way for, the Malware to enter your computer.


For more information you can visit a blog written by one of our researchers, Pieter Arntz. You can find his article here.


For more information on Exploits and why defense is so important, you can read more at this link.