This is part 2 of the Safe Surfing Guide series. You may check other parts as well for a complete safe surfing guide.
Malware includes all malicious software. Some examples are: computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and rootkits. The purpose of malware is to steal some information from your computer or to gain unauthorized access of your computer. Normally, in computer security industry, we classify them into virus and malware.
Just like antivirus software, there is anti-malware software. Most antivirus software has some capabilities to scan and remove malware, especially rootkits, worms and trojan horses. But for adware, spyware, most of the time, you need anti-malware software.
For anti-malware, I usually recommend the free Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, which is sufficient for most users when works together with Avast!. The free version can do manual scanning and removal; while the Pro (paid) version allows real-time monitoring. For malware, usually you just need scan your machine once a month. So, you can go ahead with the free version. It should do the job. However, if you often visit high risk sites, e.g., adult sites, hacking sites, or you do online shopping very frequently, you probably can consider the paid version.
Surely, there are a few other similar software vendors with anti-malware offering. I usually recommend none of them. One reason is that Malwarebytes+Avast is sufficient for most normal users.
It is most users’ misconception that malware is less detrimental than computer virus. As a matter of fact, malware may cause more damages financially. For example, the spyware may get your passwords and credit card info. So, after installing antivirus software, you should install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.