Virus & Spyware information

Viruses & Worms

A Virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without the permission or knowledge of the user. The term "Virus" is also commonly used to refer to other types of Malware, Adware and Spyware programs that do not have the reproductive ability.

A Worm can spread itself to other computers without needing to be transferred as part of a host, and a Trojan Horse is a program that appears harmless but has a hidden agenda. Worms and Trojans, like Viruses, may cause harm to either computer data, performance or networking ability when they are executed.

In order to replicate a virus must execute code and write to memory. Many viruses attach themselves to executable files that may be part of legitimate programs. If a user tries to start an infected program, the virus' code may be executed first. Non-resident Viruses immediately search for other hosts that can be infected, infect these targets, and then transfer control to the host program. Resident Viruses load themselves into system memory and transfer control to the host program, while Virus stays active in the background and infects new hosts when those files are accessed by other programs or the operating system itself.

A true Virus can only spread from one computer to another when its host program (some form of executable code) is able to move to the target computer over the internet or via portable media. Viruses increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network or a file system that is accessed by other computers. Viruses are sometimes confused with Worms and Trojan Horses, which are technically different.

Modern Viruses may also take advantage of network services such as the World Wide Web, e-mail, Instant Messaging and file sharing systems to spread, blurring the line between viruses and worms. Most personal computers are now connected to the Internet and to local area networks, facilitating the spread of malicious code. Some Viruses and other Malware have symptoms noticeable to the computer user, but most are invisible. This makes it hard for the average user to notice, find and disable and is why specialist anti-virus assistance is required.

Adware, Spyware & Malware

The term Adware usually refers to software which displays advertisements either with or without your consent. Most Adware is Spyware in that it displays advertisements related to what it finds by spying on your activities.

Most Spyware programs which report websites you visit, credit card details, internet banking information, etc. occur in the background and are not seen by the computer user.
The data is normally used for targeted advertisements.

Software is considered Malware based on the perceived intent of the creator rather than any particular features. Malware includes Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, most Rootkits, Spyware, Adware and other malicious and unwanted software.

Many of these Adware distributing companies are backed by millions of dollars of revenue gained from this software.
Adware and Spyware are similar to Viruses in that they can be malicious in nature. With so many people profiting well from these threats they are becoming more and more popular.

Unlike Viruses and Worms, Spyware and Adware do not usually self-replicate. Like many recent Viruses Spyware exploits infected computers for commercial gain. Typical tactics furthering this goal include delivery of unsolicited pop-up advertisements, theft of personal information, monitoring web browsing activity and/or redirecting browsers to specific advertising sites amongst other things.

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