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2nd Segment in the Technology Security series – Malware

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2nd Segment in the Technology Security series – Malware

By Rich Clark


Malicious software, often known as malware, is intended to gain access to your computer, collect your personal information, and disrupt computer operations.  Malware includes several types of intrusive and or hostile programs, such as spyware, viruses, ransom-ware, root kits, key loggers, adware, worms, backdoors, and trojan horses.

Many of the early malware programs were done as pranks, but with the widespread home use of high speed broadband internet connections, malware has become a rapidly expanding business to the black-hat, black-market businesses.  2007 was a banner year for the hackers writing malicious software.  So while 2007 was a good year for wine, it was a bad year for computer users because MORE bad software was written in 2007 than in the previous 20 years! Sadly, the business is still growing and expanding at a rapid rate.

So how does one protect themselves from this type of damaging software?  A good start is by installing and using anti-virus and anti-malware software.  Computers must have only one anti-virus program installed and operating, but we should remember that “anti-malware” software is different. It is acceptable and often recommended that you have more than one installed.  Keep your system updated with the current patches.  While most Windows computers are set up to automatically receive and install important updates, there are also recommended and optional updates that need to be looked at and installed if applicable to your computer.

Besides software there are a few other things you can do to keep your computer safe. 1. Use the Windows firewall or a third-party firewall. 2. Of course back up your important folders and files, so when disaster strikes, and it happens to us all at sometime, you have your important data.  3. Use strong passwords (see previous segment in this series).  4. Be very careful when opening email attachments or links.  Everyone has received an email with something like:  “Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: This is funny.”  The best thing to do with this email is delete it without opening it.  Yes, even if is from your best friend or mother.

Hackers also can use links in email to infect your computer by redirecting where you think you are linking and installing nasty software on your computer instead.  The best method to protect yourself from this type of malware is to not click on links that are in emails.  Have the web sites you use in your Favorites.  If your bank sends you a link in an email use the link to your bank in your favorites, not the one in the email.

The best defense against malware is located between your chair and keyboard. In other words, it’s the well-trained computer operator or Y-O-U.

Good luck out there and safe computing! Rich


Rich Clark Profile Pix


Richard Clark is N. N. News Staff Technology writer.  He is a certified Educational Technologist (ET) and holds several CompTIA certifications for repair and maintenance of computers, networks, and systems security.  Richard’s passion is sailing.  He has been published in several one-design magazines.



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