Has your computer been acting strange lately? Has it been popping up with funny messages, running slower than normal, missing buttons or cannot get on the Internet? All of these things can be caused by malware and can do so without the computer user even knowing that they are being targeted.
Most effects of malware are just annoying to the user but some can attack your PC and cause the computer to be unusable or even to lose data.
The use of the Internet has caused an increase in this type of infection. What exactly are viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, and adware?
• Viruses are computer programs that can copy itself and infect files increasing memory usage and slowing down the system. Viruses can be opened by launching a file that has .exe on the end. Other people can be infected by contact to the file that was originally infected. The virus can do harm by attaching to an application, application file or by residing in the memory (RAM).
• Spyware collects information about the user’s Internet activity or changes the configuration of the computer. They can change the home page that opens up when you start Internet Explorer or add buttons to Explorer. Also called adware.
• Trojans are, many times, a form on a web site that misleads you in believing that a program is used for a helpful purpose but instead has a malicious intent. You can be downloading a paint program to make artwork but instead you are really being infected by a Trojan that may harm your computer .
• Worms are like a virus but spread through a network of computers without a user doing anything. These will corrupt files and cause the Internet to run slowly on your computer.
• Malware are any of the above types of infections.
Now that you know exactly what these pesky pieces of software are, it is time to modify your Internet habits. These are some tips to help avoid risky behavior on the Internet.
• Use a firewall. This will help block unwanted transmissions to your computer.
• Update your operating system when needed. Microsoft routinely releases updates for security fixes.
• Use an anti-virus software.
• Never open e-mail or attachments from anyone that you do not know.
If you have questions about computer viruses, or think you may have an infection, call the Tech Experts 24 Hour Computer Emergency Hotline at (734) 240-0200.