Common Viruses and Spyware

Viruses and spyware can be a real nuisance. If you do not have adequate protection on your computer, you will be at risk from this malicious software.

Learn the basics and stay protected

Viruses Explained

A computer virus refers to a type of software that has the ability to move from one device to another. It often does this by piggybacking onto other programs, and this means that when you use these computer programs you will also be triggering the virus as well. This malicious software can infect your computer via email or it can exploit weaknesses in your computer security (this type of virus is commonly referred to as a worm virus).

Spyware Explained

Spyware refers to any software that is used to gather information about internet users and it includes:

• Cookies

• Adware

• Trojans

• System monitors

These programs are not always designed with a malicious intent. There are many online stores that will use cookies in order to track your buying habits, so that they can make suggestions for other products that you might like. Other spyware can be used to gather personal information about you so that criminals can steal your identity. Spyware programs can even take over control of your computer.

Common Viruses and Spyware

The most common viruses and spyware that you are likely to come across would include:

• The Author Virus works by finding an executable file (.exe file) in your system and changing the actual code in that file. This type of virus is highly sophisticated, and this means that it can be particularly tricky to remove.

• The Multithreaded virus is nasty because it attacks your system in a number of different ways. This means that it can cause complete havoc, and it may make the computer practically unusable until the virus is removed.

• Browser hijacking is a type of spyware that places internet shortcuts into your favorites' folder. The reason for doing this is to encourage you to visit these websites.

• Computer hijacking involves taking over your system, so that hackers can send spam using your IP address. The problem is that it will look as if you are responsible for sending this spam, and it will harm your reputation online. If you have a high speed internet connection you are more likely to be a victim of this type of attack.

• The anti-virus virus has only one goal, and that is to disable your anti-virus software. The reason for doing this is to make you vulnerable to other virus attacks.

• The Melissa virus is very common and it comes as an email attachment. Once you open this attachment it begins disabling some of your computer’s security features.

• Encryption viruses can be a real pain because even a quality anti-virus programme can struggle to pick these up initially. The problem is that this type of malicious software can use different encryption each time, and this means that it can slip through anti-virus security. In most cases though, it will be spotted when it decrypts itself, and it can then be moved to quarantine before it can be damaged.

• Time delay viruses are sophisticated enough that they can go undetected for a long period. During this time they will be slowly making changes to the system, so that your computer becomes infected bit by bit. By the time you become aware of what is happening, this virus may already have taken over much of the computer’s resources.

• Trojan spyware works in a similar way to the Trojan horse that was used to capture the ancient Greek city of Troy. It initially appears like a harmless programme, but once it is inside your computer it can begin to take over and steal your personal information.


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