Beware of Malware!

by Barbara J. Feldman on July 11, 2007

The rise of computer technology has created a completely new computer culture. This culture comes complete with its own language, rituals, and villains. Yep, the bad guys started using the computer for criminal activity just as soon as the computers became popular. There are many things to look out for when using computers.

The biggest threats to the safety of your computer are viruses and worms. These self-replicating programs can destroy your computer. Getting a particularly nasty virus can erase everything on your hard drive, and once it’s gone, there is no getting it back. You never know when you are going to get a virus, and even if you have the best anti-virus software available, there is no guarantee that the bad guys won’t come up with something that circumvents it. To avoid the disastrous effects that a hard drive melt down can have on your life, it is a good idea to back up your information regularly. External hard drives are relatively cheap (you can buy a good one for about $150.00) and they can hold all of the information that is on your hard drive. Making a copy of your hard drive is as close to a foolproof method of protection as there is.

Another scary threat comes from spyware. By using software that reports the things you type into your computer, the bad guys can get a hold of some important information. Credit card numbers and passwords are two of the high security items that are typed into computers all the time. These items are also the focus of malware, which is the name for all bad software that gets on your computer. There are ways to reduce your chances of identity theft and fraud. One is to never type personal information in to a computer. However, the world is changing so that we do an increasing amount of business online.

If you are going to do business online, be sure that you only type personal information in to secure internet sites. Also, the information that you type is stored in your computer in the form of a ‘cookie’. You can delete your cookies regularly to protect your information from spies. If you have children, it is important to teach them about Internet security. It might be a good idea to have a rule that kids can’t use online forms until they are educated about malware.

Other types of spyware are used to report your web activity back to advertisers. This type of spyware is rampant, often downloaded by unsuspecting Internet users. Anytime something is downloaded from the Internet, there is risk of downloading spyware. Spyware commonly “piggybacks” with other downloadable software. This happens when you want to download something, say a song, and that song is “bundled” with other software like spyware, shareware, or adware.

There are two good ways to protect your computer from any type of unwanted software. These ways are: be protected and be informed. To be protected you should purchase a commercial anti-virus program that comes with anti- everything else. A well-known, trusted program like Norton, or McAfee will also contain programs to block pop-ups, Trojans, and all other types of malware. There will be frequent updates because the malware is always changing, so you will need to download the updates when they become available.

The other way to avoid malware is to stay informed. Learn about the different threats and what you can do to protect yourself.

If it happens that you already have malware on your computer, you can download different clean-up programs. However, malware is very tricky and once it gets on your computer it will be hard to remove. The best cure for malware problems is prevention.

More tips like this one in Parents,Security,Viruses and Spyware



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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Beware of Malware!." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 11 Jul. 2007. Web. 31 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1095/beware-of-malware/ >.