Spyware Is Not The Only Malware Threat To Your Home Computer

Spyware Is Not The Only Malware Threat To Your Home Computer

Spyware is​ Not the​ Only Malware Threat to​ Your Home Computer
Given the​ huge amount of​ press and industry attention to​ Spyware it​ is​ easy to​ forget there are other types of​ malicious software or​ malware out there .​
Viruses,​ Worms and Trojans are still being developed to​ steal your personal data or​ damage your computer .​
These malicious programs can be hidden in​ email attachments or​ files which are downloaded off the​ internet.
Most computer users are familiar with the​ term computer virus .​
a​ Virus is​ usually hidden within another program or​ executable file .​
a​ Virus can be relatively harmless,​ for example displaying a​ message or​ picture at​ a​ preset time .​
Others variants however can be incredibly destructive including erasing data from your hard drive,​ corrupting programs or​ stealing sensitive information like passwords or​ financial data.
One of​ the​ limitations with a​ Virus is​ that it​ cannot spread itself automatically .​
Unfortunately a​ Worm can,​ and it​ exists to​ replicate itself .​
It is​ a​ self-contained program which is​ usually embedded in​ an​ email attachment like a​ Microsoft Word document .​
The most notorious variants like the​ ILOVEYOU Worm in​ 2000 are spread using the​ e-mail address book on​ the​ infected user’s computer .​
It emails itself to​ the​ contacts in​ the​ address book without the​ user’s knowledge.
A Worm can cause extensive damage to​ both the​ computer and the​ network your computer uses .​
a​ Worm infection consumes network bandwidth as​ it​ sends itself out .​
For example,​ a​ widespread infection can dramatically slow or​ totally overload a​ corporate network .​
It can even slowdown the​ speed of​ the​ Internet itself!
A Worm can also carry a​ dangerous program .​
The most common type of​ program is​ a​ backdoor which given hidden access to​ your computer to​ the​ virus creator .​
Your computer then becomes a​ Zombie used to​ send out Spam e-mail or​ other computer viruses.
A Trojan masquerades itself as​ a​ legitimate program or​ file .​
For example,​ you may think that you are downloading a​ MP3 music file but when the​ file is​ loaded a​ virus is​ installed on​ your system .​
Once installed onto the​ user’s computer it​ can have the​ same impact as​ a​ Virus.
Here are some common symptoms of​ infection by any of​ they types of​ malware:
- Unexplained crashes
- Strange program error messages
- Computer freezes
- Poor computer performance
- Angry emails from people you have spammed or​ unknowingly sent a​ virus (sign that your computer is​ a​ possible Zombie).
Here are some steps you can take to​ help prevent infection:
- Make sure you are receiving the​ latest Windows XP updates .​
It is​ highly recommended that you receive these updates automatically.
- Have a​ good firewall installed – ideally you want to​ have an​ application which filters both inbound and outbound internet traffic.
- Delete and do not open any email with an​ attachment from anyone you do not know.
- Install an​ anti virus program and keep the​ virus definitions up to​ date .​
Carry out a​ virus scan a​ least once a​ week .​
Always scan email attachments if​ you are planning on​ opening them.
- Use a​ Spam Filter to​ stop dangerous email getting onto your computer in​ the​ first place.

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