Malware: The Enemy Within

Malware is now a common plague of computers these days and has become more common than the conventional virus. In this article you will find explanations of the different types of Malware, how to remove an infection and how to prevent an infection in the first.

What is Malware?

Malware is a malicious piece of software designed to damage your PC or spy on your computer activities without you knowing about it. What follows is a list of common types of malware and their descriptions.

Adware

Adware will hide on your computer and show pop up windows containing adverts for various dubious products. This type of malware is more annoying than harmful.

Virus

A virus is designed to hide within other executable software and to become active when the host software is activated. It will self replicate and place copies of itself into other software or documents. This can cause an increasing infestation of you PC and cause all sorts of damage.

The worm

A worm will also make copies of itself just like a virus but can execute itself without the need for a host application. It will then send multiple copies of itself to other computers via the internet.

Ransom Ware

Ransom ware is used to extort money from the computer owner by locking up important files on your computer. A message will be displayed demanding the appropriate ransom before giving access to the files.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses conceal their true identity by masquerading as or hiding inside legitimate software. They typically get on to your computer in some form of free software downloaded from the internet.

Spyware

Spyware is designed to monitor and record all of your keyboard actions, internet activity and personal details such as credit card details and passwords sending them via the internet to the spyware maker using email.

Symptoms of an infected computer:

If your computer has displayed a significant reduction in speed it could have infected with malware, it sometimes may even appear to pause or hang. Another is that windows will have erratically and unstable. Malware will sometimes display popup windows at random. If you have a good antivirus program it should let you know the presence of Malware and offer to remove it for you.

How Does my Computer Get Infected?

Emails

If you receive any email from unknown or unexpected senders make sure that you scan it before opening it with your anti virus software and if you have any doubts do not open it.

Websites

Browsing some websites that are suspect can lead to infection because the Malware can be hidden as code in the web page itself.

Peer to Peer File Sharing Software

File sharing software enables the user to share illegal music, software and video and is a common way to get infected. A lot of the files available on peer to peer networks have Malware hidden within them or are not the files you were expecting at all.

Popup messages

Malware can often infect your computer through popups or IP popups. IP popups can be sent strait to your computers IP address bypassing popup blockers. These popups are typically disguised as Windows error messages asking you to 'click here' to remedy the error. Clicking the button will execute the Malware.

Instant Messaging Software

This may be a surprise to many of you as instant messaging software is becoming very popular. Infection usually happens when sharing files with people so be careful who you share files with.

Networks

All computers on a network are at risk of infection if one of those computers have Malware on it. For that reason all network computers must be protected by antivirus software and a firewall.

How to prevent Malware infection:

Use Internet Securities Software

I advise all computer users to invest in good quality internet securities software from companies such as Semantec and McAfee. It is not advisable to use free anti virus software as these do not tend to be as effective and can also be Malware disguised as anti virus software. Whichever one you use just make sure that you keep it regularly updated and remember to renew your yearly subscription. Remember, out of date anti virus software is completely useless.

Use A Firewall

Windows XP and Vista both have a firewall built in and you should have them switched on. If you have a good internet securities program this will have a firewall included which should be used in favor of the Microsoft version.

Use Windows Update

You should use Windows Update on a regular basis to ensure that you have all the latest critical updates. Security holes in windows are often found and Microsoft will have patches for these available ..

How To Remove Malware From Your Computer:

With any good internet securities application removal malware is a simple task. If you set them up to do so they will remove malware automatically and then inform you once the offender has been deal with.

A Final Word Of Caution:

You will be at a much higher risk of infection if you visit illegal or immoral websites, these sites tend to be set up and frequented by people who have no scruples and will think nothing of infecting your computer along with many others.

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