Most Computers Are Infected By Some Form Of Virus Or Spyware

By Jeffrey Livintoff
Wednesday - May 20, 2009

By Jeffrey Livintoff
PTC Consulting

That can’t happen to my computer? WRONG. The fact is that it is easier than ever to get virus or spyware.

First let’s take some time to explain what virus and spyware is.

Malware is a generic term used to describe malicious software such as viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and malicious active content.

A virus is a computer program file capable of attaching to disks or other files and replicating itself repeatedly, typically without user knowledge or permission. Some viruses attach to files so when the infected file runs, the virus also runs. Other viruses sit in a computer’s memory and infect files as the computer opens, modifies, or creates the files. Some viruses display symptoms, and others damage files and computer systems. Virus hoaxes are not viruses, but are usually emails warning people about a virus or other malicious software program. Some hoaxes cause as much trouble as viruses by causing massive amounts of unnecessary email.

Spyware is a wide range of unwanted programs that infect computers for commercial gain. They can run pop-up advertisements, steal personal information (including financial information such as credit card numbers), monitor web-browsing activity for marketing purposes, or redirect your internet to advertising websites. A dangerous spyware is a key-logger.

Keyloggers are malicious programs that record the key strokes a user types on their PC, including instant message and email text, email addresses, web sites visited, passwords, credit card and account numbers, addresses, and other private data. Once they record the information, they can send it to themselves to use or sell your information to computer criminals.

A Trojan horse is a malicious program that pretends to be a harmless application. It purposefully does something the user does not expect. Trojans can be harmless or can be very destructive and dangerous.

Drive-By-Downloads are web sites that automatically download infections just by going on to that site.

How do I become infected?

Emails containing attachments can hide infections. Infections can attack your friends and business associates email address books and send everyone in the address book an infection without them knowing about it. Clicking on FREE programs can download unwanted programs and mal-ware. Going to known bad websites, such as porn, hacker, other risky websites.

Around half a million computers are infected by bots( bots are software robots that search other computers for the purpose of attacking and infecting them) every day according to data compiled by Panda Labs, the research arm of anti-virus firm Panda Software. Approximately 11 percent of computers worldwide have become a part of criminal botnets, which are responsible for 85 percent of all spam sent.

6,000 new web pages are infected every day, the equivalent of one every 14 seconds. Four in five (83 per cent) of these web pages actually belong to innocent companies and individuals, unaware that their sites have been hacked. Websites of all types, from those of antique dealers to ice cream manufacturers and wedding photographers, have hosted malware on behalf of virus writers.

A GOOGLE study sheds fresh light on the well-understood problem of drive-by-downloads from compromised sites, a tactic that’s come to eclipse virus-infected email as a means of spreading malware. Cyber crooks target users by spamvertising emails containing links to poisoned web pages, exposing unsuspecting victims to malware. At least one in ten web pages are booby-trapped with malware.

How do you prevent infections? Stay away from risky or suspicious web sites. Make sure you have both antivirus and spyware software. Do updates every day. Do not open unknown files or email. If infected turn off computer and have it cleaned. Continued usage will further infect your computer. Your local computer store in Honolulu is PTC Consulting LLC ( Located at 311 Keawe Street and phone number 524-SALE (524-7253) , and our Pearl City Store 487-7253 At the Times Square Shopping Center. They are experts in cleaning infected computers and recovering your data.



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