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What about viruses?
Computer viruses continue to disrupt the business day and rob people of their valuable time and money. Firewalls don't protect users from viruses. It is the user's responsibility to be "virus aware" and protect their office environment from viruses whenever possible.
Firewalls cannot replace security-consciousness on the part of users. In general, a firewall cannot protect against a data-driven attack--attacks in which something is mailed or copied to an internal host where it is then executed. This form of attack has occurred in the past against various versions of send mail, ghost script, and scripting mail user agents like Outlook.
Organizations that are deeply concerned about viruses should implement organization-wide virus control measures. Blanketing your network with virus scanning software will protect against viruses that come in via floppy disks, modems, and Internet. Trying to block viruses at the firewall will only protect against viruses from the Internet--and the vast majority of viruses are transmitted via attachments from email or floppy disks.
A virus or worm is a computer program that can spread across computers and networks by making copies of itself, usually without the user’s knowledge.
Depending on the virus, they can control and display those irritating pop-up messages, steal your data, or allow other users access to your computer.
How does a virus work?
A virus has to be run before it can infect your computer, and they have ways of making sure this can happen. They can attach to other programs or hide in code that is run automatically when you open certain types of files.
Where can I find them?
Viruses can come from an infected file in an email attachment, a download coming from the internet, or on a disk. As soon as any of these types of files are launched, the virus code will activate and run. Once it can run, it has the ability to copy to other files or disks, and make changes on your computer.
A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer. The term "virus" is also commonly but erroneously used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have the reproductive ability. A true virus can spread from one computer to another (in some form of executable code) when its host is taken to the target computer; for instance because a user sent it over a network or the Internet, or carried it on a removable medium such as a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB drive.
A computer worm is a self-replicating malware computer program, which uses a computer network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. This is due to security shortcomings on the target computer. Unlike a computer virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.
A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is a destructive program that masquerades as an application. The software initially appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to installation and/or execution, but (perhaps in addition to the expected function) steals information or harms the system. Unlike viruses or worms, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves, but they can be just as destructive.
A rootkit is software that enables continued privileged access to a computer while actively hiding its presence from administrators by subverting standard operating system functionality or other applications. The term rootkit is a concatenation of "root" (the traditional name of the privileged account on Unix operating systems) and the word "kit" (which refers to the software components that implement the tool). The term "rootkit" has negative connotations through its association with malware.
Typically, an attacker installs a rootkit on a computer after first obtaining root-level access, either by exploiting a known vulnerability or by obtaining a password (either by cracking the encryption, or through social engineering). Once a rootkit is installed, it allows an attacker to mask the ongoing intrusion and maintain privileged access to the computer by circumventing normal authentication and authorization mechanisms. Although rootkits can serve a variety of ends, they have gained notoriety primarily as malware, hiding applications that appropriate computing resources or steal passwords without the knowledge of administrators and users of affected systems. Rootkits can target firmware, a hypervisor, the kernel, or—most commonly—user-mode applications.
Rootkit detection is difficult because a rootkit may be able to subvert the software that is intended to find it. Detection methods include using an alternate, trusted operating system; behavioral-based methods; signature scanning; difference scanning; and memory dump analysis. Removal can be complicated or practically impossible, especially in cases where the rootkit resides in the kernel; reinstallation of the operating system may be the only available solution to the problem.
Maleware, short for malicious software, consists of programming (code, scripts, active content, and other software) designed to disrupt or deny operation, gather information that leads to loss of privacy or exploitation, gain unauthorized access to system resources, and other abusive behavior. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code
Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. These advertisements can be in the form of a pop-up. They may also be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The object of the Adware is to generate revenue for its author. Adware, by itself, is harmless; however, some adware may come with integrated spyware such as keyloggers and other privacy-invasive software.
Scareware comprises several classes of scam software with malicious payloads, or of limited or no benefit, that are sold to consumers via certain unethical marketing practices. The selling approach uses social engineering to cause shock, anxiety, or the perception of a threat, generally directed at an unsuspecting user. Some forms of spyware and adware also use scareware tactics.
A tactic frequently used by criminals involves convincing users that a virus has infected their computer, then suggesting that they download (and pay for) fake antivirus software to remove it. Usually the virus is entirely fictional and the software is non-functional or malware itself. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the number of scareware packages in circulation rose from 2,850 to 9,287 in the second half of 2008. In the first half of 2009, the APWG identified a 585% increase in scareware programs.
Crimeware is a class of malware designed specifically to automate cybercrime. The term was coined by Peter Cassidy, Secretary General of the Anti-Phishing Working Group to distinguish it from other kinds of malevolent programs.
Crimeware (as distinct from spyware, adware, and malware) is designed (through social engineering or technical stealth) to perpetrate identity theft in order to access a computer user's online accounts at financial services companies and online retailers for the purpose of taking funds from those accounts or completing unauthorized transactions that enrich the thief controlling the crimeware. Crimeware also often has the intent to export confidential or sensitive information from a network for financial exploitation. Crimeware represents a growing problem in network security as many malicious code threats seek to pilfer confidential information.
Just like a real virus like the flu, a computer virus is always evolving to breach security updates, and bi-passing old versions of anti-virus.
There are many low maintenance solutions that can prevent viruses and virus removal on your pc. So here are a few immediate steps that you can do in minutes.
The 3 Commandments to keeping your PC healthy!
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