Security for the masses

What are Viruses and Worms?

A virus is a program that can spread from file to file on your system and from PC to PC. It does this by attaching code to executable files (programs) and when you run that program the virus code is also run. In addition, it may erase or damage data.

Worms are similar to viruses but with some subtle differences. A worm is a computer program that spreads, but does not infect other files. Instead, it installs itself once on a computer and then looks for a way to spread to other computers. Worms create a single instance of their code. Worm code is stand-alone it is a separate file, whereas viruses are code that attach themselves to other files.

What is a Trojan?

The term Trojan refers to the wooden horse used by the Greeks to sneak inside the city of Troy. A Trojan is a program that poses as legitimate software but when launched will do something harmful. Trojans can't spread by themselves. Trojans are usually installed secretly and operate without user knowledge. Trojans are usually purpose-built to carry out a specific malicious task. The most common are Backdoor Trojans, often including a keylogger. Trojans can spy, steal passwords and use your computer to distribute a spam.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a process designed to trick you into disclosing personal financial details. Phishing Usually consists of a fake website that looks just like a bank's website or Ebay, Paypal, in fact any site where financial transactions take place. Phishing attempts to trick the user into visiting this site and typing in confidential data such as your login, password or PIN. Usually Phishing attacks start with an email containing a link to a fake Phishing website.

What is Spam?

Spam is anonymous, unsolicited bulk email. It is effectively the email equivalent of physical junk mail delivered through the post. It is sent out in mass quantities by spammers who make money from the small percentage of recipients that actually respond. Spam is also used for phishing and to spread malicious code.

What is Cyber Crime?

Cyber crime encompasses any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (hacking). Cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet. Such as; hate crime, telemarketing and Internet fraud, identity theft, and credit card account thefts are considered to be cyber crimes when the illegal activities are committed through the use of a computer and the Internet.

What is Hacking?

Hacking is the act of exploiting vulnerabilities to break into a computer systems. Hackers regularly break into both individual computers and large networks. Once they have access, they may install malicious programs, steal confidential data, or perhaps use compromised computers to distribute spam.

What is a vulnerability?

Computer software is very complex and written by humans, often containing programming mistakes known as vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are used by hackers to break into systems and to run code or programs automatically without user knowlegde.

What is a keylogger?

These are programs which record the key presses that a user types on the keyboard and can be used by a hacker to obtain confidential information such as login details, passwords, credit card numbers etc.

What is Adware?

Adware is a term applied to programs that either launch advertisements, often pop-up banners or re-direct search results to promotional web sites. Adware is sometimes built into freeware or shareware programs. The adware programs often install themselves silently and secretly, and are usually difficult to find and remove.

What is Spyware?

Software that is designed to harvest your data and forward it to a third party without your consent or knowledge. Such programs may monitor key presses, collect confidential information, harvest e-mail addresses or track browsing habits. Again spyware is usually installed silently and secretly and is also difficult to find and remove.

What is Malware?

Malware is MALicious softWARE it is a term that covers any software program deliberately created to perform an unauthorized and often harmful action. Viruses, backdoors, keyloggers, password stealers and Trojans, spyware and adware are but a few examples of what is considered malware.

What is a Botnet?

A network of computers controlled by cybercriminals using a Trojan or other malicious program.

What is a Backdoor?

A backdoor is a way to enter a computer often to control the computer without the knowledge of the user.

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