Difference Between Adware and Trojan Horses

Adware and Trojan horses are software that is introduced into individuals’ personal computers or desktops even without their knowledge.

They are considered malicious at times as they may either control the OS or even might watch the activities of the user including their fields of interest or their hobbies.

But they are not always malicious and that depends on the intentions of the developer.

Adware vs Trojan Horses

The main difference between Adware and Trojan Horses is that while adware is not as harmful and as malicious as Trojan horse, Trojan horse is always malicious as it is created to take over the system that has been targeted or infected with the software. The purpose of the two is stark different and has no similarity.

Adware vs Trojan Horses

Adware is software that comes along with easy to open or other free-to-open software or apps. It is sent along with other software so that it can’t be detected easily as it could hide behind the mask of the software.

They aren’t considered as harmful as all that they do is to help their developer keep a constant check over what the user’s field of interest is.

Trojan horse is a disguised malicious software that enters a system in the form of some other software or under the name of another app.

They can’t be recognized easily if a computer or a system doesn’t have a proper antivirus security system. They are dangerous as they can completely take over a system and give all access to hackers.

Comparison Table Between Adware and Trojan Horses

Parameters of ComparisonAdwareTrojan Horses
Malicious IntentionNot reallyYes
Major ObjectiveMonitor the userTakes over the system
Gives Profit to DevelopersYesNo
Watches Over The UserYesNo

What is Adware?

As the name suggests, it is software that is usually held responsible for all the unwanted ads that pop up on our screens.

They enter a computer system through much other free-to-open software that users might click on by mistake.

This releases the adware onto the system. Adware can’t be considered a serious threat to the system or the user.

But they breach the privacy of the individuals who use the infected system or desktops.

This is done by watching over the daily activities of the users and identifying what they like and what they don’t.

After this is done, adware developers keep giving pop-up windows to the user’s browser with all the things they might have been interested in previously.

By doing this, the developers gain plenty of profit via the advertisement as there are chances the user might open the pop-up window.

Adware is similar to spyware as it keeps a watch over all the activities that a user does and it is also difficult to get rid of.

If a computer or the system does not have an antivirus program, then adware might be difficult to eradicate and cleanse the system.

A few examples of adware software are Gator and Appreach.

What is Trojan Horses?

Trojan horse is malicious software that invades a personal computer and eventually takes over the entire system.

They enter the system through unknown names in such a way that the user wouldn’t suspect anything.

This disguise helps it in accomplishing its mission of stealthily entering the computer and slowly taking over the functions.

Once it has entered the system, it can give access to the developer who might as well be a hacker.

It allows such hackers unauthorized access to the computer there making the user’s system open to threat and therefore vulnerable.

Trojan horse is very harmful if not detected early as it can be attacking prominent systems that include security systems of different nations.

It can take all the data and information the system has stored and can use it to blackmail institutions or even countries as a whole and threaten their security.

Once it has gained total access to the system, there is no understanding of what might happen as the hacker can now do as they please.

To prevent their entry is the only option that computer owners have as after their entry, there is barely anything that can be done.

Trojan horses can be prevented from entering a system even via a disguise by installing antivirus software.

The antivirus system has to be strong and always upgraded to make sure that there are no loopholes through which the malware can enter.

A few common Trojan horses are Rootkit and Beast Trojan.

Main Differences Between Adware and Trojan Horses

  1. The presence of adware can be understood by the user after they start seeing pop-up windows with ads but on the other hand, the presence of Trojan horse can’t be understood unless they take control of the whole operating system.
  2. Adware is not as harmful as Trojan horse as they only keep a check on all the user activities. The trojan horse takes over the entire system.
  3. By Trojan horse, its developers don’t get any monetary profit as they aren’t gaining money through it whereas adware developers do get a monetary benefit through all the ads that they sell.
  4. Adware enters a system through free-to-open apps or software whereas a Trojan horse enters the system under a disguise of other names or even mails.
  5. A strong antivirus system is needed to protect from Trojan horses whereas regular antivirus software can also prevent the entry of adware.
Difference Between Adware and Trojan Horses


Adware and Trojan horse are both malware that can get entry into a system in many ways, be it in disguise or plain sight.

These are instances during which both viruses could be present in a system. One doesn’t slow the other down.

To prevent the attack is the best option since after they have attacked, it would be difficult to get rid of them both.

After they have established their presence in the system, they tend to slowly alter a few functions of the computer in their ways.

Good and strong antivirus software is a must to protect the computer from all sorts of malware or other such types of viruses.


  1. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1232411/
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