There was a time, not that long ago, when the word virus pertained to illness within a living being such as the cold virus, the flu virus, etc. Ever since the launch of the Internet and the steady advances in technology giving rise to different electronic devices that have taken the world by storm, we've become aware of a new type of illness lurking within cyberspace. In this article, we'll be going over a few important things about Viruses and Malware to better keep you informed.
- Malware: Not every illness and disease we come into contact with is a virus, the same can be said in regards to our computers. The word “malware” is short hand for Malicious software and is a general term when speaking of viruses, worms or spyware. You might notice things like “tracking cookies” or that random new toolbar that you didn't ask for just appears on your web browser as well as additional extensions that you didn't want. You might see strange files that keep replicating themselves. These are all signs of malware.
- Computer Viruses: Just like biological viruses, a computer virus has to attach itself to a file within your computer. Not all computer viruses are the same. There are hundreds of different types, some may even be nearly identical to others. Some are only made to create chaos within your computer such as slowing your device to a crawl or scrambling files. Some are more sophisticated and their intent is to steal your personal information. If you have an anti-virus software, which we all should, most of the viruses out there will be caught and blocked by your anti-virus programs. Nevertheless, it is always wise to exercise caution when operating online. Always keep your anti-virus software up-to-date, don't click on odd weird-looking links and don't visit strange unknown sites.
- Worms: A worm, in regards to malware, is a file that has only one purpose which is to replicate itself. It doesn't attach to other files like viruses do, instead, a worm will find a place on your drive and continue to replicate itself. Over time this will cause your computer to slow as more and more duplicates of the worm take up more space on your drive.
- Trojans: Many of us have heard of the Trojan horse from the story of Troy. Troy sent a large wooden horse as a gift but in the dead of night, the soldiers hidden in the horse burst out and attacked. A Trojan is much the same when comes to malware. It seems like a genuine application but in reality it can be devastating. Contrary to popular belief, a Trojan is not a virus in the way that it doesn't replicate. Despite this, it can still be destructive to your computer. Most trojans also leave an “opening” to your system allowing malicious users and cyber criminals to steal your personal information.
The above is important information to keep you aware of just what lurks within cyber space. Armed with this information, you can take your cyber security to the next step and prevent malware from wreaking havoc on your devices and your life. Exercise caution while surfing the Internet and invest in an antivirus software. If you have any questions or if you would like more information on this subject, please, feel free to contact us.