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Types of Malware

The more you educate yourself on malicious software, the better off you'll be. Malware is not a virus. In fact, it consists of viruses, worms, Trojan horses, adware, rootkits and many other nasty infections. Some of these programs are more of an annoyance than anything, while others pose a serious threat to your computer. Regardless of the type, each of them offer their own unique security threat, and they should be avoided at all costs.

Viruses

The computer virus is the most infamous form of malware. It is a self replicating program that infects a system without authorization. A virus is often transmitted via email but can also be distributed through various storage mediums such as a flash drive. Once installed, it will execute itself, infect system files, and attempt to propagate to other systems. The impact of a virus ranges widely from slow system performance to wiping out every file on your computer.

Worms

Though closely related, worms and viruses are two completely different types of malware. Both have the ability to self-replicate and propagate by attaching themselves to files. While a virus moves from machine to machine, a worm tends to leach onto network traffic and can be a corporation's worst nightmare. In no time, it can travel through the internet and inflict great damage from deleting files to creating backdoors that give its creator control of a system.

Trojan Horses

Similar to the mythical wooden horse used by the Greeks to invade Troy, the Trojan horse is a very deceptive program that appears harmless but is actually one of the most dangerous types of malware. It may arrive as a friendly email attachment or present itself as a useful application on a website. Because it does not have the ability to self replicate, a Trojan cannot be classified as a virus. However, it does have the ability to deliver destructive payloads and unload viruses, worms or spyware.

Spyware

Spyware is a sneaky program that tracks and reports your computing activity without consent. While it isn't designed to inflict damage, spyware can terribly affect the performance of your computer over time. Spyware usually comes bundled with free software and automatically installs itself with the program you intended to use. Signs of spyware include sudden modifications to your web browser, redirects of your search attempts and the frequent displaying of pop-ups. In this instance, spyware can also be termed as adware which is essentially add-supported software that has the ability to track your activity.

Rootkits

A rookit could be a single program or collection of programs designed to take complete control of a system. This type of malware is employed by hackers and gives them all the abilities of a system administrator from a remote location.

Rootkits are very sophisticated as they make hackers very difficult to find. They are often used to infect other computers and enslave them as zombies, forcing them to attack other machines, distribute spam or steal passwords. When attempting to track a rootkit's creator, the search usually ends with the first zombie while the hacker goes undetected.

Staying Safe

As you can see, malware is abundant and will attempt to attack your from every direction. However, there are several security solutions and system updates that will help to keep you protected. Combine these tools with safe computing and you have a much better chance of keeping the malicious software away.

 

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.