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Malware and Spyware

Malware Malware, short for malicious (or malevolent) software, is software used or created by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.

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This malware will operate invisibly, often without displaying itself in your Task Manager. To top it off, malware usually refuses to be uninstalled through your control panel, and requires special tools to delete them from your drive.

Yes, this is a direct cousin to viruses, but with a broader portfolio of wicked intentions. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs. However, some malware is disguised as genuine software, and may come from an official company website. Malware is often used against individuals to gain personal information such as social security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, and so on. Left unguarded, personal and networked computers can be at considerable risk against these threats.

Various factors make a system more vulnerable to malware: * Homogeneity: e. g. when all computers in a network run the same operating system; upon exploiting one, one can exploit them all. * Weight of numbers: simply because the vast majority of existing malware is written to attack Windows systems, then Windows systems are more vulnerable to succumbing to malware attacks. * Defects: malware using defects in the operating system design. * Unconfirmed code: code from a floppy disk, CD-ROM or USB device may be executed without the user’s permission. Over-privileged users: some systems allow all users to modify their internal structures. * Over-privileged code: some systems allow code executed by a user to access all rights of that user. * Malwares affect networks easily because of the use of same OS. What does malware do? The most common malware functions are: 1. Malware steals your personal information and address book (identity theft and keystroke-logging). 2. Malware floods your browser with pop-up advertising. 3. Malware spams your inbox with advertising email. 4. Malware slows down your connection. 5.

Malware hijacks your browser and redirects you to an advertising or a phishing-con web page. 6. Malware uses your computer as a secret server to broadcast pornography files. 7. Malware slows down or crashes your computer. Spyware Spyware is a type of malware (malicious software) installed on computers that collects information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect. Some spyware, such askeyloggers, may be installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer intentionally in order to monitor users.

While the term spyware suggests software that monitors a user’s computing, the functions of spyware can extend beyond simple monitoring. Spyware can collect almost any type of data, including personal information like Internet surfing habits, user logins, and bank or credit account information. Most spyware is installed without users’ knowledge, or by using deceptive tactics. Spyware may try to deceive users by bundling itself with desirable software. Some spyware authors infect a system through security holes in the Web browser or in other software.

When the user navigates to a Web page controlled by the spyware author, the page contains code which attacks the browser and forces the download and installation of spyware. Spyware also has the same effects as malware has. How to protect your computer from spyware and malware? Here is the checklist for detecting and destroying malware * Install two or three different anti-spyware programs (“spyware cleaners”) on your computer, and update their definition lists regularly. Because every anti-spyware cleaner is imperfect, it is necessary to use combinations of these programs to catch the greatest breadth of malware.

Also, the anti-spyware manufacturers regularly add new entries to their “definition” lists, just like anti-virus software. Make sure to keep your spyware cleaners updated with these lists! * Avoiding and destroying malware/spyware is not instant, and it is not a one-time event. Instead, stopping spyware/malware is a long-term game that is exactly like cleaning dirt out of your home. You need constant vigilance, and a regular habit of cleaning malware out of your computer every week. Build a weekly habit of “scan and detect”. This should also be done whenever you install new software.

Many anti-spyware programs can be set to automatically perform scan-and-detect nightly. * Carefully read every EULA (end user license agreement) before clicking “accept”. If you see the phrase “3rd-party software may be installed”, make sure to follow the software install with a spyware cleaning. * Educate yourself on the latest strains of malware. In particular, start visiting these recommended anti-spyware sites, and update yourself on the latest malicious programs. * Egs of antimalware programs * Antivirus/Antispyware at About * Network Security at About PestPatrol. com database * Spywareguide. com * SpywareWarrior. com * SurferBeware. com * Cexx. org * Save your data, and backup often. Below are 5 easy steps you can follow to try to avoid and, if not avoid, at least detect and remove these programs from your computer system: * Be Careful Where You Download: Unscrupulous programs often come from unscrupulous sites. If you are looking for a freeware or shareware program for a specific purpose try searching reputable sites * Read the EULA: Eula is End User License Agreement.

The EULA is a legal agreement you are making with the software vendor. Without reading it you may be unwittingly agreeing to install spyware or a variety of other questionable actions that may not be worth it to you. Sometimes the better answer is “No, I do not accept. ” * Read the instructions carefully before you click. * Protect Your System through Antivirus softwares. * Scan Your System through antivirus antivirus softwares, firewalls and other protective measures.