Malware - Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Spyware

We all know that there are computer threats that can have a negative impact on your computer system and your life. Many computer users, though, arent experts on these matters. They just use computers for work and entertainment. This computer threats overview will give you the basic information that you need to spot potential problems and protect yourself from common threats.

Viruses: One of the Most Common Computer Threats

A computer virus is a small program that can copy itself to infect computers. They were a problem even in the beginning phases of the internet. Today, there are literally thousands of viruses. Not all of them are particularly troublesome, but some of them can cause significant damage, such as corrupting files and even deleting everything on your hard drive. There are several ways to contract these computer threats. They are commonly found in email attachments and downloads from malicious web sites.

Trojans: the Sneaky Computer Threats

If you use an operating system that was released within the past couple years, then you might occasionally see warning messages about Trojans when you download files. Trojans are small viruses that hide within other programs. They can essentially exist anywhere. Funny pictures, illegal downloads, and pirated software are some of the most common sources. These programs may disable antivirus software and remove firewalls.

Worms: The Self-Replicating Computer Threats

Worms are similar to viruses in that they are small, malicious programs. The big difference, though, is that worms pose a threat even when computer users dont download any files. These programs use the internet to search for vulnerable computers. Once they locate them, they move in. The computer users probably wont even recognize that anything has happened until he or she begins to experience computer problems. These programs can clog networks and can make loading web pages take a long time.

Spyware: Annoying Threats to your Computer

Spyware might seem like viruses, but they dont replicate themselves. This technicality will mean little, though, to those who unintentionally download spyware to their computers. This common threat is usually contracted through peer-to-peer file sharing. If you download music, movies, or software illegally, then you have an increased risk of installing spyware. Spyware can collect personal information and can configure your computer to change your homepage, add additional programs and can cause your computer to crash.

An Overview of Problems Caused by Common Computer Threats

These computer threats can cause lots of problems. Viruses, worms, and spyware are often designed to gather information. This means that criminals can get private information such as bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card numbers. This makes it much easier for them to commit fraud and identity theft: two of the scariest problems that modern internet users face.

Once criminals have this info, they can take money from your bank accounts, sign up for credit cards in your name, or even purchase high ticket items from online retailers.

Other viruses take over small parts of your computer. This allows people to use your computer to send spam emails or participate in guerilla techniques that bombard web sites with requests until their owners pay off the criminal to regain control of his or her site. Chances are that you wont see these activities taking place. Your computer or internet connection, however, will usually slow down: a symptom that a computer threat is causing problems with unknown repercussions.

Malware can be preventing by being careful on the internet, installing a network firewall and using antivirus and antimalware programs. Free programs include SVG antivirus and Malwarebytes.