The Main Difference Between Virus and Worm

Malicious software, or “malware” is a type of program created specifically for deleting, modifying, copying, or changing file format of data, or disrupting the PC operating system or local/global networks. Malicious programs include viruses, worms, Trojans, and special utilities (for cracking passwords on your computer, copying files, deleting them, and so on.)

We’ve already spoken about types of malware and their cyber threats. You can read more in our up-to-date blog.

But what is the difference between a virus and a worm? We can say with confidence that they are aimed at destabilizing the general functioning of a computer or the whole network. The most common ways to transmit this “infection” are by email, a link, file-sharing networks, or OS drivers.

Let’s take a closer look at worm vs virus and find their main differences.

What is a computer virus?

A virus is a specially created code that is embedded in existing files, where it reproduces. As a rule, such actions are aimed at destroying or damaging your private data.

What is a computer virus?

A virus breaks the operating system, blocks commands, disables access to information, causes the operating system to crash, damages user settings.

For instance, if a user writes data to a document in Word, then saves it, and closes the app. After that, you can realize that the system didn’t save it because couldn’t recognize the format. Next, the virus starts creating files with the same name that you assigned when saving. It takes up space in the computer’s memory, filling it with its own data.

Often sources are downloaded archived documents, games, and other executable files. 

What is a computer worm? 

A computer worm is a program that penetrates a PC, installs, and sends itself to local/global networks. Worms, like viruses, move from one PC to another. They cause software errors, reproduce themselves, and create conditions for hackers to disrupt a particular server or local network’s operation.

What is a computer worm?

A worm can act synchronously with certain viruses, steal passwords, hack accounts of payment systems, and get unauthorized access to the internet. All your created folders that is stored on your hard drive are also under a huge danger.

What is the difference between virus and worm? 

As usual, a computer virus is created to corrupt the entire data or software. But a worm is developed to perform a certain dangerous action. Worms can open access for unauthorized use of information or load data into memory without your knowledge.

When a PC is infected with a virus, all actions slow down completely. Some programs do not open, files appear with strange letters and symbols in the name or with a different creation date which may display years in the next century, or a person cannot copy folders and documents to a flash drive.

Let’s compare virus vs worm on the main indicators:




Remote control

Contagion process

Exploits a weakness in the system or application.

Attaches to an executable file, folder, or program.

Diffusion process

Replicates itself and uses the network to embed itself in other devices.

Viruses rely on transferring files or other programs to spread to other systems.

Files infection

✖ – It usually monopolizes the CPU and memory. ✓- It modifies or deletes certain files.

Speed of propagation

Faster than viruses

Slower than worms.






Antivirus, antispyware, firewall

Antivirus software


Virus or spyware removal tool, formatting.

Antivirus, formatting, and system restore.


Of course, we can’t deny the real difference between these types of malware. Each of them is a serious danger for stable computer work. But a worm is just a subclass of the malware with its own characteristics. It can work without any special actions from third-parties and doesn’t infect unnecessary files.

While the main aim of a virus is to destroy saved information and paralyze the entire work of the device.

What to do if you find a virus or worm on your PC? 

*Note: Before, you should download the necessary plugin for virus detection.

First, we need to check whether the malware has put itself in autorun. For this, you can use the app “Total Commander,” which is a file manager like Windows Explorer but with many more features.

At the top of the Total Commander screen, from the control panel icons located under the menu, find the “Autorun programs” icon. From the displayed list, we can find the command BrowserUpdateCheck, and delete the main threat. 

How to fight with worm vs virus?

Second, suppose your antivirus is outdated while updating its database. In that case, it notifies you of a threat. You should immediately disable the connection and perform a deep scanning process on the disk after a full update of the antivirus protection database. A complete check process will take a long time if the hard drive is filled with documents and archived data.

Third, if the second option won’t work, you need to reinstall the operating system. If you can’t remove the virus from your computer, you can reinstall Windows, and you need to take everything you need to a flash drive. However, if the computer is completely infected, you will not be able to copy anything to the USB drive, so you will have to format the hard disk with all the available information (pay attention, that in this case, you’ll lose all your data.)

The idea of Protected Internet: how to ensure your online privacy?

How to avoid viruses and worms?

The most important rule is to install strong antivirus protection. Strong antivirus protection, of which the most popular are Kaspersky, ESET NOD32, and Dr. Web, will help you maintain total control over your personal computer.

Also, forget about accepting unfamiliar folders and files from the internet, especially in the form of archived documents. It is better to check for reviews and comments about this download folder before you download it.

But since hackers have no limit to their imagination and constantly produce new viruses and worms aimed at those who ignore protection, you need to remember the basic rules:

  • Don’t open emails from unknown senders with strange themes and attached files with the .exe extension.
  • Use secure tools for anonymous and private internet connection like Utopia P2P
  • Refuse to download illegal content on dubious sites.
  • Be careful with torrents.
  • Check removable media that connects to your computer.

Use our Checklist of Necessity Security Measures on the Internet and stay safe!

3 years ago

What do you think is more dangerous for our computers, virus vs worm? I’ve read a study on this topic, where the author claimed that soon, the internet would be the most insecure place in terms of viruses and worms.

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Good afternoon, Nat! Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to predict how internet security will develop soon. We want to hope that, along with the development of dangerous viruses and worms, people will develop reliable ways to destroy them. Today, we can say for sure that the Utopia ecosystem is almost the only safe place from surveillance and censorship, and various types of malware.

3 years ago

If you wish for to get a great deal from this piece of writing then you have to apply such strategies to your won web site.

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Good afternoon! Thank you for your comment. We will definitely take your advice into account.

3 years ago

Exactly what I was searching for, thank you for putting up.

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Good afternoon! We are glad to have helped you.

3 years ago

Really? Do you think that your protection tips can really save us from virus vs worm? It’s a big business of media corporations and hackers who want to destabilize our computer work and gain all data. The only way to protect people is to forget about the internet at all.

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Good afternoon, Joy! You are partly right. Unfortunately, we can’t completely eliminate the threat of malware. For this, people should abandon the internet. And this is almost impossible in 2020. After all, most of our life takes place online. However, we can reduce threats by using antivirus programs, following security rules, and implementing the latest systems to protect data on the network.

3 years ago

hi! thanks so much for your article. it’s very interesting and useful for all internet users. fortunately, i’ve never faced with such malware as virus vs worm. But now, i now everything that can help me to protect from these threats.

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Good afternoon, Kelly! Thank you for your support! You are really lucky girl because you have never faced these threats before. It is wide-spread malware programs that can destroy each computer and data storage server. Each of us should take internet security more seriously.

3 years ago

Yeah! I’ve finally realized the obvious difference between virus vs worm that I hadn’t seen before. But still, the difference in the treatment of your computer after an attack of such malware is somewhat different. Thanks! Now I know everything I really need on this topic. And, guys, who already use Utopia? Is it worth trying?

Matthew Turner
3 years ago

Hello, Huff! Thank you for your feedback! The topic of internet security is not so complicated if you seriously consider it. After all, our security is in our hands. And Utopia is a great way to increase this security and make it impossible for outsiders to monitor our online lives.

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