Viruses come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Trojans are appropriately named after the Trojan Horse the Greeks used to secretly enter Troy. These viruses come into your computer disguised as something else. It might be from something good you think you’re downloading, but when you click the download button a Trojan can piggy-back in on the file you’re downloading. Worms are viruses that self-replicate. Their aim is to infect not only your computer, but other computers. They spread to devices on your own network, or they can spread to others through carriers like e-mail. There are many other types of viruses, but those are generally the main ones we deal with.
Viruses are made by callous computer programmers that have nothing better to do with their time than to ruin everyone’s lives with these annoying “bugs.” Viruses are designed to breach computer security and cause chaos inside your computer. Sometimes they pass through Firewalls and Antiviruses. They enter your computer by being disguised in things that you download from the internet, either accidentally or on purpose. They are almost always connected to pornography websites, “free” music websites, “free” movie websites, and many seemingly innocent websites. When downloading things off of the internet, you need to make sure what you’re downloading is free from viruses. A computer virus can do anything from causing an annoying nuisance by making pop-up windows never go away, to eating your precious files or making your computer completely crash, and everything else in between. There’s no end to what viruses have the potential to do. The best safeguard against them is to not download things off the internet, or make sure when you do that you’re not downloading a viruses into your computer. If you’re unsure, just give us a call and we’d be happy to talk with you over the phone –free of charge!– to help you decipher whether or not something is a good download or a bad one.
Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on a computer without the knowledge of the owner in order to collect the owner’s private information. Spyware is often hidden from the user in order to gather information about internet interaction, keystrokes (also known as keylogging), passwords, and other valuable data. Spyware can also negatively affect a computer’s performance by installing additional software, redirecting web browser searches, changing computer settings, reducing connection speeds, changing the homepage or even completely disrupting network connection ability. Spyware can also be used as a type of adware, where the software delivers unsolicited pop-up ads in addition to tracking user behavior. Typically, spyware is installed when a user installs a piece of free software that they actually wanted. When the desired software is installed, the spyware will piggyback on the installation and start collecting data from the user’s activities. The user can also be tricked into installing the spyware through a Trojan horse as well as it pretending to be a free piece of security software. Spyware authors have been known to pay shareware developers to bundle their spyware with the legitimate software as well as simply repackaging freeware and bundling it with their own spyware. Drive-by downloading is another method used to install spyware on an unsuspecting user’s computer.