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Viruses, Adware And Spyware - Oh No! The Differences Between These Computer Foes
There are so many malicious infections that ones computer can get these days. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what each of them are and what they do. It can be mind boggling at all the different names for malware. There are computer viruses that must piggyback on top of another program to get into your system. They use real programs to run themselves. They can reproduce and attack other programs, wreak havoc, and even send themselves to other computers in many ways. An e-mail virus moves from computer to computer in your mail client. The user will open an infected attachment that will not only attack the computer in some specified location but also send itself to everyone in your address book. The process of mailing itself out is its replication. Worms are very similar to viruses and in the same category as far as anti-virus programs are concerned. They are a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security holes to replicate them selves. They look for other computers in a network with the proper security holes to get in. once they have infested another computer that is vulnerable they replicate there as well. Trojans are also classified with viruses but are different. They are simply computer programs. They enter a computer by being hidden in another program that is downloaded. They will cause severe damage and may even erase your hard drive once you have run the program they are attached to.
A different type of security risk is Adware. This is one of the most common threats users face when on the net. For the most part it is just extremely annoying. Some have been know to cause major computer issues as well. Most adware comes bundled with in another program. The programmer will add this in to advertise and reduce the cost or make the program free. This advertising generates affiliate money for the programmer who will keep generating more adware for the company he is working with. Another type of adware is also known as shareware. This utilizes advertisements for the free version of the program. Most shareware companies offer a paid version that will eliminate the ads all together. For the most part one can say adware is software designed to monitor a user's Internet activity and transmit that information back to an advertising company. Some programmers call it a data miner. Adware can interfere with browser and security settings. It will also display pop-up ads even when not connected to the net.
Spyware can come to a user in several ways. The most common is bundling the spyware inside another program. The spyware company will pay a programmer to add this bundle into their program. Another way to add spyware is to exploit the security flaws in web browsers to install spyware software onto a users computer. Many of these programs are installed silently with out the users knowledge. Each spyware package has its own tracking number to be recognized by the company whose program it is. The tracking number and all the information about the computers use is then transmitted back to the company. The company will keep the information gathered from all the computers they have infected with their spyware. A more broad definition used is hardware or software device that can monitor a user's activity with out them even knowing it. Software spyware can record keystrokes, mouse clicks, chat conversations, e-mails, and other online activity including purchases. Some forms of spyware can take snap shots of what is being displayed on the monitor for other to view later, called screenshots. They can also see the communication between computers that allow them to steal passwords and credit card numbers. Hardware spyware is very small devices that are put between the keyboard and computer. This records which buttons are being used on the keyboard at all times and is very effective. It is not detectable by anti-spyware products because it is not software and installed onto the computer. This would physically have to be placed onto the computer by someone with physical access to it. Other types of hardware spyware are small cameras and microphones in hard to see locations. Also radio transmitters that can be attached to clothing or other objects near the computer