Computer Tips: From the ‘Mouse’- Virus vs. Spyware / Malware / Adware

Computer Clip ArtAs defined by WikipediA:

“A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself[1] and spread from one computer to another. 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.[2]

Spyware is a type of malware that can be installed on computers, and which collects small pieces of information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user’s personal computer. Sometimes, however, spywares such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users.

Malware, 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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[1] 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.”

To combat these threats takes little to no effort of the end user-you.  Because these threats are not all the same you will need different anti programs to defend, ward off and protect your computer. You only need two programs to safeguard your computer.  A good licensed antivirus program and a good licensed spyware program.  Key word (licensed) comes with a price; not free, not downloaded share-ware.  I recommend you purchase these items from a retail store.  You will have the product in hand for re-installation if needed.   Most free stuff is not free you end up paying the price sooner or later.  The reasons I say get both and not a bundled all-in-one program is simple; a good antivirus program dedicates all its attention to finding a virus.  A good spyware program dedicates all its attention to finding spyware, malware, and adware.  The same as a specialist all their focus and attention is dedicated to that specific area. I have found Norton Antivirus (just antivirus) not 360, internet security or any other product by Norton, along with Spy Sweeper by Webroot (just Spy Sweeper) not with spam remover, and antivirus protection does an outstanding job for the price.  Keep their definitions and subscriptions up to date, and run the programs.  This will keep your system clean and healthy.

I hope to accomplish that you know you are smarter than your computer, that the computer is a tool, and you are the master of that tool.  If you have any questions you would like answered in this column please send them to:

Until next month, safe computing. “PC’S 4 U where quality and client satisfaction are priority!”

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