1. What is Spyware?
Although a common user may suffer from different spam messages, viruses and hacks another largest issue for users today is a spyware. They are small programs Spywarethat are installed on PCs to collect user's data and information without owner's knowledge.
Commonly spyware is a hidden program that is hard to be identified or even found. It is installed secretly on a target PC. Seldom, commercial spywares, e.g. keyloggers are installed on corporate PCs by the owner or IT manager to monitor users activity on remote PCs during the working time.
Based on the term itself spywares are developed to monitor a remote PC's activity, but in fact spywares' functions are extended well beyond their basic goals. Commonly spywares collect the information about visited Internet sites, surfing habits in general, in addition they may redirect the work of web browser and install attendant software. Furthermore, spyware applications may slow down Internet connection at user's PC, change PC settings, home page, etc.
2. What is Malware?
Malware (malicious software) is a program developed to access a PC without user's knowledge. Malware term is mostly used by IT professionals to generalize intrusive and hostile program codes and software as well. malwareMalware is a very general term for many unwanted software like viruses, computer worms, adware, rootkits, spywares, etc. Commonly malware get to user's PC from the Internet (unauthorized mails with attachments, cracks of the software user downloads, harmful sites, etc.). Sometimes malware can include potentially unwanted programs.
3. What can spyware/malware do to Computer?
Those programs could perform various of nasty things to your PC from simple spam and mail advertisement to password stealing. Here is the list of most common activities:
- Prevent user from work by clutters creation
- Data destruction, copy or rewrite on a disc
- Files encryption within code or virus attack
- Personal data and address book information steal (identity theft and keystroke-logging).
- Replacement website links with false sites for user to enter personal info and passwords there (commonly for bank account info steal)
- Browser flood with different pop-up windows and sites, commonly of advertisement character.
- PC infection with viruses
- Enables remote users (hackers) to get an access to user's PC for remote control and data transfer
- Rarely the use of phone modem for expensive international calls.
- Slow down Internet connection
- Antivirus and firewall activity deactivation.
- The use of user's PC as a server for pornography files broadcast
4. What is the source of spyware/malware? Where does it come from?
All known malware and spyware applications are developed by tricky but clever programmers or hackers and delivered to your PC through the Internet or with infected flash drivers, CDs, etc. The most common source is covert Internet installation. Mostly malware can be found on innocent-looking web site components and different toolbars, MP3 players, game demos, free service subscriptions and other offers you are welcomed to download from the Internet. There are a lot of tricky options to subscribe to online services, but remember that it is rather unsafe and potentially dangerous for your PC's security. Whenever you install any program or application, subscribe to a "free" service - do not forget to read an End User License Agreement and do not make next step if you see that software's vendor or service provider is allowed to install the third party software on your PC. Should you not read the EULA, you will be the only person who is guilty in malware's getting to your PC.
5. How can I protect my PC from malware and spyware?
- use updated OS with a high level of malware protection system.
- install patches and updates of your protection system if automatic update is not available.
- do not asset your Administrative rights to any user who works at your PC as additional user.
- use well known and specialized anti-malware software.
- update the bases of your antivirus software if auto-update is not available.
- World known and mostly used antiviruses use your personal firewall (hardware or software) to control an access to the Internet from your PC.
- do not allow a remote access to your PC by unauthorized users.
- do not open files and archives received from unreliable sources.
- disable autorun option for all portable media sources that will not allow the run of codes stored there without your permission
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