Malware is a shorthand term for malicious software; that is, software written with the intention of doing harm. It’s plain and simple: malware programmers want to wreck your PC and your network. They have their reasons for this malicious intention, including stealing your private information, among other things. How the malware programmer plans on accomplishing his or her purpose can vary drastically, because malware can damage computers in many different ways.
There is a wide variety of malware you should be aware of are described below:
Like viruses that infect people, computer viruses are infectious. Viruses spread by via software downloads. Viruses copy themselves from infected software downloads onto your PC. Then, whenever file is run, the virus will run also. A great example of how viruses spread involves your web browser’s screen refresh file – the virus spreads every time you refresh your browser.
Worms are most likely the oldest form of malware. They scan networks for systems that are vulnerable. Upon detecting a security gap, a worm copies itself onto the computers with that vulnerability. Once in a system, a worm will scan and copy information, which is eventually transmitted back to the worm’s malicious programmer. The stolen information could include your bank account and credit card numbers, your email address and your passwords – essentially everything needed to destroy your credit and financial identity.
Trojan horse viruses
As with the Trojan horse from Greek history, Trojan horse viruses are disguised as something that would be welcomed, such as a tool or utility that can be downloaded. The claimed functionality of the online application entices computer you to download it. Trojan horse viruses can be disguised within utilities that claim to “update your mp3 player” or even “remove spyware for free,” just to name a few sordid examples. By downloading an infected utility, you’re inviting malware to infect your computer. When you use that utility you’ll essentially be initializing a series of events that will probably ultimately bring your computer to its knees.
If your PC gets infected, the Trojan virus typically tries to spread from your computer onto other computers within your network and eventually throughout the Internet As you send emails and / or files. Trojans can cause massive viral outbreaks and a tremendous number of PC and network failures.
Backdoor viruses enter your computer by creating a “backdoor” – an alternate path onto your PC which then gives the malicious programmer access to your PC and / or network. They are able to get around firewall systems. Once on your computer, a backdoor virus will act like other types of viruses. Depending on its purpose, a backdoor virus can reek havoc on your OS, erase your hard drive or put garbage files onto it, copy your private information, take you to unknown websites, and so on.
Protection is Available
You can avoid being a victim of malicious software, including spyware, adware, viruses and other malware. Be smart and protect yourself, your private information and your computer. Many online anti-virus firewall software applications are available. Use one of these tools to find and eliminate malware infections and to prevent future infections by scanning all files that your receive – this includes downloads and emails.
The first step in obtaining malware protection is finding a reputable vendor. While you’re doing your research, look for the top four or five vendors. Symantec and McAfee are two of them. Remember, you’ll want to find a company you can trust because some of those “free spyware removal” companies might actually infect your computer. Make your choice wisely.
Once your computer is disinfected, the second step is scanning all files, images, downloads and emails that contact your computer. The third step in your malware protection is easy: update your anti-virus and firewall software on a regular basis. Good anti-virus software vendors send out frequent updates.
Finally, make sure you know the source of all files and software you download. If you’re not 100% sure that the application or file is safe, simply don’t download it. Also, if someone you don’t know and trust emails an application to you… don’t open or run it.
To sum things up, protect yourself from spyware, viruses, adware and other malware by finding a proven antivirus software publisher, by cleaning and protecting your system, by keeping your antivirus firewall software current, and by only downloading files from sources you know and trust.