Demystifying Malware

Demystifying Malware

What is Malware?

For the most part, “Malware” is short for malicious software and is typically used as a catch-all term to refer to any software designed to steal your personal information, cause harm, or damage to a single computer, server, or computer network; whether it’s in the form of a virus, spyware, adware, or ransomware.

 

What is a Virus?

Viruses are like computer programs that attempt to spread from one file to another on a single computer then from one computer to another, using a variety of methods, without the knowledge and consent of the computer user. Often times viruses will move, rename, or delete files on a computer.

 

What is Spyware?

Spyware is any software installed on your PC that collects your information from your computer without your knowledge, and sends that information back to the creator so they can use your personal information in some nefarious way. This could include logging your keystrokes, watching you’re searching habits, changing out your browser home and search pages, adding obnoxious browser toolbars, or just stealing your passwords and credit card numbers. Spyware is primarily meant to make money at your expense so it doesn’t usually delete your files or stop your computer from working—in fact, many people have spyware running without even realizing it, but generally those that have one spyware application installed also have a dozen more. Once you’ve got that many pieces of software spying on you, your PC tends to run much slower.

 

How To Protect Yourself From Malware:

Your first line of defence is always a good offense. That is, be careful when opening attachments, clicking on links in your email, and browsing questionable web sites. Next is to make sure you have an antivirus installed. There are many good free programs out there that will help keep you protected in case of a threat. I would recommend the free version of AVG AntiVirus at http://free.avg.com . It is also worth noting that not all good antivirus programs will protect your from Spyware and so it might not be a bad idea to install an anti-spyware program in addition to your antivirus program. One I would recommend is called Malwarebytes and you can download it at http://www.malwarebytes.


 


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