Malware – What is it? » Tech talk February 2015

Malware is an abbreviated term meaning “malicious software”. This is software that is specifically designed to gain access or damage a computer without the knowledge of the owner. There are various types of malware including spyware, key-loggers, true viruses, worms, or any type of malicious code that infiltrates a computer. Today, much of malware is created for profit through forced advertising (adware), stealing sensitive information (spyware), spreading email spam, or to extort money (ransomware).

There are several things you can do to make your computer more secure

  • Install your Windows updates e.g. software updates, security fixes, patches and service paks
  • Be very careful when installing any software downloaded from the internet. Adware is often incorporated into legitimate software and you need to be specific in order not to install it.
  • Do not open email attachments from unknown sources
  • Stay away from pirated software
  • Backup your important data regularly
  • Use a reputable antivirus program and use its scanning function. I suggest scanning once a month.
  • Remain as anonymous as possible. Do not give out any of your personal details to anyone who does not have a legitimate need for it (via email, over the phone, via email or even in person)

What do I do if my computer has a virus or pop-up ads are driving me crazy?

Call your local Computer support person; a full clean-up can usually be done in about an hour on a system that is 5 years old or newer.

By Michael Ludlam

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