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How Malware Works

One of the biggest problems that Internet surfers face today on the World Wide Web is malware. Malware is malicious software that is installed on your PC usually without your knowledge and it can enter your PC as a result of surfing the Internet and in a variety of different ways. Once it sneaks into your PC, malware is capable of spying on your surfing habits, logging your passwords by observing your keystrokes, stealing your identity, reading your email, hijacking your browser to web pages that "phish" for your personal information, and a variety of other invasive tactics.

How To Tell If Malware Has Entered Your PC

Malware is very sneaky about entering your PC. It can enter as the result of clicking on website links, pop-up ads, or any other kind of normal surfing activity. There are subtle and blatant signs that will tell you if it has entered your PC. If you know what to look for, you can easily discover malware and remove it with your antivirus program.

These Are A Few Of The Signs That Malware Has Entered Your PC:

  • You start seeing an excessive amount of pop-up ads.
  • Your PC's operating system slows down significantly.
  • The amount of spam you receive in your email increases.
  • Your email account may send out messages to your contact list that you did not send. Sometimes it contains pornographic material or even a trojan or worm.
  • The home page you have set in your browser is altered.
  • When you try to access a web page in your favorites list, another web page appears that contains advertising or content that encourages you to enter your personal information.
  • Your computer completely crashes.
  • You are unable to access your antivirus program to remove the malware.

The Origin of Malware and How It Works

Malware is created by criminals that are very sophisticated in computer programming before they install it on the Internet. Malware attaches itself to the components of a web page, pop-up advertisements, toolbars, free stuff that you download, and games, to name a few. When you click on these components, malware sneaks into your computer.

Once malware is in your computer it can steal anything from your music lists to more serious information like your login passwords, bank account numbers, and personal information.

How To Avoid Malware

Although malware is really sneaky, you can help to avoid getting malware by being cautious with your Internet surfing habits and by keeping your antivirus program updated. It is also a good idea to activate the firewall protection. Also, make sure your antivirus program includes malware and spyware protection.

When you surf the Internet avoid clicking on pop-up advertisements regardless of how tempting they may seem. Pay attention to the "Site Advisor" in your antivirus program that will tell you if there are any problems with the website you are visiting.

Make it a general practice to only click on links for websites that you trust, do not volunteer any of your information on unknown websites, and avoid downloading free software from sites you are unfamiliar with.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser