530-949 - 0657    West Redding Computing ,Transcription By Ann

Is your computer/ data safe from virus's and spyware ?

FAQ's-- What virus's and spyware are !!


FAQ's--The world of virus's and spyware.

What's a "Virus"?
Computer viruses are called viruses because they share some of the traits of biological viruses. A computer virus passes from computer to computer like a biological virus passes from person to person.

There are similarities at a deeper level, as well. A biological virus is not a living thing. A virus is a fragment of DNA inside a protective jacket. Unlike a cell, a virus has no way to do anything or to reproduce by itself -- it is not alive. Instead, a biological virus must inject its DNA into a cell. The viral DNA then uses the cell's existing machinery to reproduce itself. In some cases, the cell fills with new viral particles until it bursts, releasing the virus. In other cases, the new virus particles bud off the cell one at a time, and the cell remains alive.

A computer virus shares some of these traits. A computer virus must piggyback on top of some other program or document in order to get executed. Once it is running, it is then able to infect other programs or documents. Obviously, the analogy between computer and biological viruses stretches things a bit, but there are enough similarities that the name sticks.

What's a "Worm"?
A worm is a computer program that has the ability to copy itself from machine to machine. Worms normally move around and infect other machines through computer networks. Using a network, a worm can expand from a single copy incredibly quickly. For example, the Code Red worm replicated itself over 250,000 times in approximately nine hours on July 19, 2001.

A worm usually exploits some sort of security hole in a piece of software or the operating system. For example, the Slammer worm (which caused mayhem in January 2003) exploited a hole in Microsoft's SQL server.

Early viruses were pieces of code attached to a common program like a popular game or a popular word processor. A person might download an infected game from a bulletin board and run it. A virus like this is a small piece of code embedded in a larger, legitimate program. Any virus is designed to run first when the legitimate program gets executed. The virus loads itself into memory and looks around to see if it can find any other programs on the disk. If it can find one, it modifies it to add the virus's code to the unsuspecting program. Then the virus launches the "real program." The user really has no way to know that the virus ever ran. Unfortunately, the virus has now reproduced itself, so two programs are infected. The next time either of those programs gets executed, they infect other programs, and the cycle continues.

If one of the infected programs is given to another person on a floppy disk, or if it is uploaded to a bulletin board, then other programs get infected. This is how the virus spreads.

The spreading part is the infection phase of the virus. Viruses wouldn't be so violently despised if all they did was replicate themselves. Unfortunately, most viruses also have some sort of destructive attack phase where they do some damage. Some sort of trigger will activate the attack phase, and the virus will then "do something" -- anything from printing a silly message on the screen to erasing all of your data. The trigger might be a specific date, or the number of times the virus has been replicated, or something similar.

Spyware Info and Facts that All Internet Users Must Know

You may know spyware by one of its many names; adware, malware, trackware, scumware, thiefware, snoopware, sneakware.

Because of its stealthy nature, most Internet users are more familiar with the symptoms of spyware infection:

  • sluggish PC performance
  • increased pop-up ads
  • unexplained homepage change
  • mysterious search results.

 For virtually everyone surfing the Internet, malware and adware are a nuisance, but if you do not detect spyware on your PC, it can lead to much more serious consequences like identity theft. Because of the threats that malware pose, a spyware remover installed on your PC is essential. Gathering spyware info also helps protect yourself from malicious attacks by adware or malware.

 Spyware facts:

Experts view malware as a real threat to consumers and businesses. If you're online, you should be concerned about spyware. You may want to consider adding an anti-spyware program to your PC to remove spyware.

  • Nine out of 10 PCs connected to the Internet are infected with spyware.*
  • A recent spy audit report published by Earthlink and Webroot found an average of 26.5 spyware traces are present on a given PC. In a six-month period, two million scans found 55 million pieces of spyware.
  • 92% of corporate IT managers at companies with more than 100 employees claim they have a "major" spyware problem.**



Spyware in the news

  • "One of the biggest challenges a computer owner can face is getting rid of adware or spyware..." Reuters, Feb. 9, 2004
  • "Spyware is like adware, except that it has gone completely over to the dark side, scanning your hard drive for personal information or attempting to link your surfing habits to your name or email address." PC World, July 23, 2003

 How does spyware find you?

Even if you're careful, you can pick up adware and other forms of spyware through normal Internet activities.

  • Visit any media-supported website and you're bound to get a tracking cookie
  • Share music, files or photos with other users
  • Install software applications without fully reading license agreements

Isn't spyware just another passing trend that will eventually fade away?

Unfortunately, no Spyware and adware makers have found a viable financial model that supports continued activity, whether it's legal or not. Unlike most other Internet threats, such as viruses that are purely malicious in nature, malware creators profit enormously by selling information on your surfing habits, redirecting you to sites you didn't intend to visit, or by bombarding you with pop-up ads. Since it is almost impossible to find and stop the makers of adware, or reduce the lucrative financial opportunity, this trend is here to stay.

What can you do if you get spyware on your PC?

If you don't want it on your computer, you can try to remove spyware manually. However, adware removal is a difficult and complicated process for even the most experienced computer user. For the best spyware removal tool, many consumers today are turning to anti-spyware software like Adaware or Spybot S&D. A spyware remover like this can detect spyware and safely remove the applications from your system.




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