Homepreneurs Office Technology Tip – Viruses, Trojans and Malware

Homepreneurs continues its home technology tips in this post by discussing the threats to your home network – business or personal – posed by malware infections.  Much confusion exists about viruses, spyware, Trojans, etc.  We attempt to clear up some myths and suggest proactive approaches to keep the bad bugs away.  This topic is very important to home and small business owners; some malware infections such as spyware can steal personal information.  Anti-malware software can keep your accounts and personal information from being stolen or compromised.

Malware is an umbrella term and includes: computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, dishonest adware, scareware, crimeware, most rootkits, and other malicious and unwanted software or program.  According to Microsoft, it is thought that one in every 14 downloads contain malware code.[i]  Malware, removal, and related loss of business production is estimated to cost the world up to one trillion dollars a year.

The three most common types of malware are Trojans (70%), viruses (17%) and worms (8%).

–        Trojans – In general, a Trojan horse is any program that convinces the user to run it, concealing a harmful or malicious payload.  The payload may delete user files or launch additional malicious malware such as spyware.  Used commonly in marketing, current advanced Trojans are capable taking complete control of an Internet browser and even making changes to security settings and a computer’s registry files.

–        Viruses  and Worms – the most well-known, they do not share particular behaviors but rather spread in a similar manner.  Computer viruses typically refer to a program that has infected executable files and when launched, spread to other executable programs.  Viruses can carry a malicious payload.  By contrast, a worm actively transmits itself over a network to infect other computers.  Worms may also carry a malicious payload.

While the above three are quite common, a major recent concern is increasing occurrences of Phishing.  Phishing attempts to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers, by disguising itself as email from a trusted source.  Recent notable Phishing attacks are seen in emails from UPS, FedEx, the IRS, FBI, and other perfectly legitimate organizations.

Most government organizations would not contact an individual via email.  The IRS and FBI would send subpoenas or other letters via the US Postal service.  If one gets an email from these organizations, delete it immediately.  Further any email from an unknown and/or unexpected source should be deleted and never opened.  It may be malware and sent without the sender’s knowledge.

Protection

Many anti-malware programs are available for purchase.  Some of the well-known vendors are McAfee and Symantec.  Other vendors definitely worth looking at: AVG, Avast, Kaspersky, Bit Defender, and MalwareBytes.  A review of some anti-malware products may be found here: http://anti-malware-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

A word of caution: one good anti-malware program should be adequate.  Multiple programs can conflict with each other, causing neither to work adequately.  In emergency cases, if an infection is suspected, a number of free products are available to help remove the threat.  A top-10 list of free utilities is found here: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-free-anti-malware-tools-worth-checking-out/2045?tag=content;siu-container .

By Dion D Shaw

Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2011

Reference


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