Pronets’ Tuesday Tech Tip - July 9, 2013 Print
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 14:43

Spyware, Viruses, and Malware…oh my!

It’s difficult to know if you are defending or protecting your computer from these harmful programs without understanding what they do.  Today’s tech tip will teach you the terminology and help you to become an active participant in your own protection!

Spyware (Wikipedia def): Spyware is a software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge.  It is mostly classified into four types: system monitors, trojans, adware, and tracking cookies.  Spyware is mostly used for the purposes such as; tracking and storing internet users' movements on the web; serving up pop-up ads to internet users.

Viruses (Microsoft def): Computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation. Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages or instant messaging messages. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.

Malware (Wikipedia def): Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs; the majority of active malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.

So if you want to protect yourself against malware, you have to protect yourself from viruses AND spyware.  First, try not to rely too heavily on the free stuff.  The protection that is part of your operating system is a good start, free products from reputable virus protection companies are better, but the best is to spend the money and get Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware technology to scan your computer.  (If you are a Pronets’ managed services client, you have high-end protection available to you free of charge.) Regular cleaning is necessary and while most systems will quarantine a harmful application, it’s helpful to have it scrubbed from your system.   We can get into this a little more, but now you know the difference!