Below are some of the computer infections you may encounter. To prevent any of these from making their way onto your computer, please make sure you have a good antivirus program installed.



Malware -
Short for malicious software, an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of harmful or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software. Malware is defined by its malicious intent, acting against the requirements of the computer user and so does not include software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency.


Spyware - Software that aims to gather information about a person or organization without their knowledge, that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a device without the consumer's knowledge. "Spyware" is mostly classified into four types: adware, system monitors, tracking cookies, and trojans; examples of other notorious types include digital rights management capabilities that "phone home", keyloggers, rootkits, and web beacons.

Ransomware - Malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem and difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash and Bitcoin are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.

Trojan - Malicious computer programs which mislead users of its true intent. The term is derived from the Ancient Greek story of the deceptive wooden horse that led to the fall of the city of Troy. Trojans are generally spread by some form of social engineering, for example where a user is duped into executing an e-mail attachment disguised to be unsuspicious, or by drive-by download. Although their payload can be anything, many modern forms act as a backdoor, contacting a controller which can then have unauthorized access to the affected computer. Trojans may allow an attacker to access users' personal information such as banking information, passwords, or personal identity. It can infect other devices connected to the network. Ransomware attacks are often carried out using a Trojan.

Computer Virus - Type of malicious software program that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Infected computer programs can include, as well, data files, or the "boot" sector of the hard drive. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be "infected" with a computer virus. Virus writers use social engineering deceptions and exploit detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to initially infect systems and to spread the virus. The vast majority of viruses target systems running Microsoft Windows, employing a variety of mechanisms to infect new hosts, and often using complex anti-detection/stealth strategies to evade antivirus software. Motives for creating viruses can include seeking profit, desire to send a political message, personal amusement, to demonstrate that a vulnerability exists in software, for sabotage and denial of service, or simply because they wish to explore cybersecurity issues, artificial life and evolutionary algorithms.

Computer Worm - Standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Often, it uses a computer network to spread itself, relying on security failures on the target computer to access it. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.

Rootkit - Collection of computer software, typically malicious, designed to enable access to a computer or areas of its software that would not otherwise be allowed and often masks its existence or the existence of other software. The term rootkit is a concatenation of "root" (the traditional name of the privileged account on Unix-like operating systems) and the word "kit" (which refers to the software components that implement the tool). The term "rootkit" has negative connotations through its association with malware.

Keystroke Logging - The action of recording the keys struck on a keyboard, typically covertly, so that the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. Data can then be retrieved by the person operating the logging program. A keylogger can be either software or hardware.

For more detailed information, vist The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary.

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