How to Know when Malware has Attacked Your Computer – A Lesson in Anti-Virus Protection!
Malware, or malicious software, is software that is intended to cause disruption to a computer system. It may also be used to gain access to private computers in order to gain personal or financial information. The term is used to describe any software that is hostile or intrusive. Malware comes in a number of different forms. To help you understand a bit more, we would like to help you learn about the different types of malware. Check them out below:
Viruses are the most common form of malware and are often transmitted onto the computer through an email with an infected attachment or a device that can be used on a number of computers such as a flash drive. The impact the virus has on your computer will depend on the function of the virus which can range from simply slowing your computer down to deleting important files.
Worms are very similar to viruses but they are two different types of malware. Like a virus, it has the ability to self-replicate, but instead of moving between machines a worm can infect a number of computers through attaching itself to network traffic. It can inflict damage by deleting files and can even create a backdoor which allows hackers to take control of the system.
A Trojan Horse is one of the most dangerous forms of malware because it presents itself as a harmless attachment or piece of software. Once it is installed on your computer it can unload viruses, worms or spyware. It cannot be classified as a virus in its own right as it does not have the ability to self-replicate.
Spyware is not intended to inflict damage on your computer. Instead it tracks and reports on your activity without consent. Signs that you have spyware on your computer include redirects from your search engine, frequent displaying of pop-ups and sudden modifications to your web browser. Spyware usually becomes installed on your computer after being hidden within other software.
Rootkits are used by hackers to give them all the access to the computer that a system administrator has from a remote location. They can be single programs or a collection of programs. Rootkits are sophisticated programs that can protect hackers from being discovered. They are often used to infect other computers which are enslaved as zombies. These computers are then instructed to attack other machines, distribute spam and steal passwords. Any attempts to locate the hacker will only lead back to the infected machines.
Malware can cause a variety of problems on the computer that it infects but using good anti-virus and anti-malware software can protect the computer from these types of threats. Using a firewall is also recommended and will help to protect your computer. The anti virus software packages do not have to be expensive. There are many great deals to pick from. For it to be the most effective, the software needs to be updated on a regular basis in order to protect your computer from new threats. There are also steps you can take to protect your computer from viruses such as not opening email attachments from sources you do not trust.
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Five Ways to Surf in Safety
The internet is growing up. Maturing. That’s a good thing, because it means the “Wild West” days of pure, unbridled chaos are now behind us, but unfortunately, it means that the internet’s dark underbelly is maturing too, and getting craftier by the day. That matters because hackers are getting increasingly sophisticated when it comes to pilfering your data. Ten years ago, Identity Theft, when it was thought of at all, was barely even recognized as a threat. Today, it’s one of the fastest growing types of digital crime. Never before has it been possible to do so much damage to a person, simply by virtue of taking control of that person’s data, and never before has so much of a person’s data been at risk.
There are reasons to be concerned, and fortunately, there are sensible precautions you can take without taking drastic measures like unplugging or simply not sharing anything at all. Granted, both of those would certainly maximize the safety of your data, but already, both of those options would come with a fair amount of pain in their own right, and that will only worsen as time goes by. We are fast becoming a digital world. You have to stay plugged in, or risk being left behind.
Here’s how you can do that and keep yourself safe:
1) Passwords. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. Do not use the same password for everything! Easier said than done though, right? I mean, who can keep up with thirty or more passwords? Here’s an easy mnemonic trick to make it easier. Start with a common base. Say, for example, B@tman234. Then, for each site you do business on, add an abbreviated version of the site name. So if you do business with chase bank, maybe your password would be: chab@tman234, or chab@tman234se. On yahoo, your password might be yab@tman234, and so forth. In this way, each password is unique, but there are commonalities that make it not a complete nightmare for you to remember.
2) If password security ranks at the top of the list, then having good anti-virus protection surely needs to be mentioned second. Anti virus software packages come in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll find software for every budget. Some of these anti virus programs come with anti-spy ware add-ons (either free or for an additional fee), but they all have the same basic goal in mind: To keep hackers from installing something nasty on your system and either taking control of your machine (slaving it), or breaking into your accounts and making off with your sensitive data. If you don’t have one running right now, as you read these words, you need to!
3) Firewall protection – this is another biggie, and rounds out the “Holy Trinity” of basic protection. Here, you need to consider not only your personal computer, laptop, tablets, and phones, but also any smart appliances in your home, if you have any. Did you know that recently, hackers were able to “slave” a smart refrigerator and use it in an attack? They certainly did, and the fact is, most smart appliances do not have even rudimentary safeguards on them. If these devices are tied into your home network, it’s like leaving the back door of your house unlocked, with a large neon sign pointing to it, declaring it to be unlocked. Secure your network and you’ll go a long ways toward securing your data!
How to Spot Spammy Emails
Given the creativity and persistence of spammers, it is possible that if you are not paying attention, you could open, reply to, or click links embedded in a “phishing” email. If you’re lucky, none of those actions will result in anything bad happening. If you’re very lucky you’ll catch yourself before you actually volunteer any personal information, though sometimes, it might not matter. Sometimes, all it takes is opening the mail in the first place! Spammers are getting good. They’re using official logo graphics and writing decent copy. They can sound very convincing.
Nonetheless, there are a few basic things you can do to ensure that you don’t fall victim to the spammers, or that if you do, you’ve got at least some measure of protection.
Let’s go over a few ways to protect yourself here:
1) Check the “from” address against the actual site’s domain. In other words, if you get an e-mail from paypal, it is going to invariably come from “someone @ paypal.com .” If the email you are looking at comes from any other domain, it’s spam, period.
2) Reputable companies will never ask for credit card information, billing information, or any other personal information via email. Let me repeat that: Reputable companies will never ask for credit card information, billing information, or any other personal information via email. If you get an email asking for anything like that, its spam, and you know what to do.
3) True, spammers are getting better, but they still slip up. If you get an email claiming to be from a company, and it contains bad grammar, incorrect capitalization, or incorrect punctuation, consider it spam and get rid of it.
4) A commonly used spamming/phishing tactic is to put some kind of pressure on you. “You must act immediately!” or “this is a time sensitive matter!” or other triggers designed to get you to make a hasty decision. Don’t fall for it.
5) On the flip side, some spammers will try to entice you into clicking on links or giving up personal information by making an offer that sounds too good to be true (“enter your password and win a new car!”). If it sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. Don’t be taken in.
Of course, even if you take all reasonable precautions, it is possible that, in a moment of weakness or carelessness, you accidentally open one of these emails, and sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes just opening one isn’t enough to “do anything,” but you can’t rely on that.
Just in case, if you don’t already have antivirus software of some kind running on your system, then as soon as you finish reading this article, you should change that. Don’t have any money? That’s okay, they make anti virus software packages with free versions, and even the free versions are pretty good, though by all means, if you have a little cash to spend, do yourself a favor and get some decent anti virus protection. You should have it on every network connected, internet capable device you own, and a decent firewall on top of that. If you don’t, you’re just asking for trouble.
You might be an extremely careful person. You might be exceedingly lucky, but if you don’t take at least basic precautions and pay attention when you’re online, sooner or later your luck is going to run out. When that happens, it’s best to be protected. Failing to take common sense precautions can lead to very costly, entirely avoidable “accidents.”
Don’t let it happen to you!