What is Malware?

 Malware is malicious software.

                   It is written for various reasons ranging from mischievous disruption, to major destruction.  It comes in several forms
                   including Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Spyware and Scareware.

A virus is a program which is written to infect other software by embedding a copy of itself in legitimate software.  It requires the legitimate software to run before it can do anything, but once it gets started (e.g. by opening the harmless looking attachment it is in), then it performs the task it was written for.  Some can then also replicate themselves or change to avoid detection by anti-virus software.

Trojans are types of malware that come already embedded in a program that you think you need and purposefully download it.  Many of the flashing ads for various things on websites (even for antivirus software!) lead you to download useful looking programs which contain trojans which might pop up an ad for their product at annoyingly frequent intervals or worse. A likey place to get these trojans are through P2P file sharing sites like Limewire ans Sharaza.                                                                                              

Worms are like viruses but they don't spread by infecting other programs, they keep replicating themselves till they jam up your system or cause your PC to restart or shutdown completely.  They don't need to be attached to anything to get in, they can penetrate via your network or straight from the internet. That's why a firewall is so important.

Spyware and/or Adware
This malware is not necessarily written to cause damage but to collect information from your system and report back to where it came from.  The information can range from what websites you visit to all your passwords and personal details.  Just about every commercial site you visit will download a tracking cookie to find out where else you've been since the last time you visited.  Which pop up ads you see are chosen by what you've clicked on in the past.                                                                                                 
Be careful what you download
Know the person whose attachments you open. Know what you click on in websites. Peer to Peer file-sharing (Limewire etc) is riddled with Trojans and malware.  If you don't know what it is - do not click until you ask someone you trust. 
Keep you Antivirus/Firewall Updated
Last but not least, make sure that your antivirus and firewall software is always up to date on a daily basis.  Your antivirus and antispyware should be set to update their virus definitions automatically.
All of these programs in varying degrees take away system resources from the tasks you actually want your computer to be performing so it is in your interest to stop them before they infect your system.

 Woody's Home Computer Solutions - Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834