is a catch-all phrase that includes any unwanted, undesirable,
or otherwise malicious software. It comes in many forms: virus,
rootkit, spyware, and
the most common. I know how malware programs are written
and how they function in your system. I use the
most advanced techniques for getting rid of the nastiest of
them without losing any of your personal data or
programs. Call me before you let someone wipe out your
A computer virus can duplicate by attaching itself to other
files on your computer and spreading to other computers either
by the Internet, or by some storage medium such as a flash
drive, CD, or DVD. A virus may or may not have symptoms
that are noticeable to a computer user and may harm computer
data and performance.
A Worm is also self-replicating but does not attach itself to
other files on your computer like a virus. A worm,
instead, exploits computer vulnerabilities on a network or the
Internet to spread to other machines. A worm is commonly used
to send out SPAM mail from an infected machine and generally
don't directly harm the infected machine, although some forms
have been known to do so.
A Trojan (a.k.a. Trojan Horse) does not replicate itself or
spread to other computers. It masquerades as a desirable
program to the computer user, but in truth has malicious
intent such as stealing personal information or allowing
remote access. One common example of a Trojan is rogue
security software. Trojans are usually noticeable to the
computer user and may or may not harm data.
Some consider rootkits the grand-daddy of malware. They do not
replicate and are usually installed by an attacker by cracking
a password, deciphering an encryption, or exploiting a
vulnerability. Rootkits can be tucked away deep into the
computer system and hide themselves quite well from System
Administrators, computer users, and security software.
Security software on an infected machine cannot be trusted to
perform properly and may not catch a rootkit infection.
Detection and removal is difficult and needs to be done by a
VERY experienced individual, such as myself. Once
installed, rootkits can grant a hacker remote access to an
infected machine and can be used for a variety of purposes,
often to hide other forms of malware on the machine that may
be stealing passwords and other personal information.
Just as the term implies, spyware collects personal
information such as passwords and browsing habits but may also
secretly install other malware, hijack browsers, change home
pages, change computer settings, and cause a machine to lose
it's Internet connection. Spyware does not replicate and may
be installed in a number of ways including being bundled with
other software that is downloaded and installed by the user,
misleading a user into thinking the software is desirable, and
exploits in web browsers (most notably Microsoft's Internet
Explorer and Sun Microsystem's Java runtime engine). An
infected machine usually has multiple forms of Spyware
infections leading to poor system performance. A machine
infected with Spyware usually suffers from Adware infections
Adware deals with marketing and may be legitimate, however,
when coupled with Spyware, the adware can become quite
annoying. An infected machine may display unwanted pop-up
advertisements or have browser hijacking. Adware
in itself is usually not harmful to a computer, however, some
types of Adware, along with Spyware, use fraudelent techniques
Security Software, and keyloggers (Crimeware)
to steal personal information.
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