Viruses, spyware, hacker attacks, and other cyber threats have become a part of modern life. Malware spreading over the Internet, hackers stealing confidential information and mail boxes being inundated with spam is the price we pay for the convenience computers offer us. Unprotected computers and networks are easy targets.
Nowadays the term virus is familiar with every computer user, and even with people who have never used a computer before. Even television documentaries and newspaper articles contain details on the most recent virus epidemic. But virus really is a general name covering many different types of damaging programmes: classic viruses, the Internet and email worms, Trojans, backdoors and so forth.
Viruses can cause damage
In whatever shape it comes, a virus has been programmed to spread itself throughout computers and networks by copying itself, usually via the oblivious computer user. The function of the virus, or rather the effect of it, can be irritable at the least but also damaging, or even criminal. A virus can be programmed to "innocently" display a joke on your computer screen, but also to delete all data files off your computer or to steal confidential information for distribution.
The first viruses started to appear during the late 1960's, early 1970's: opinions remain divided about this.
Their effect was relatively small, the simple reason being that the number of computer users was a lot smaller than nowadays. The increased use of computer technology has lead to virus messages on almost a daily basis. Some of these messages are false. Yet virus mass attacks have become a daily reality with serious consequences, resulting in financial losses both for private users as for businesses.
The number of threats and the frequency and speed of these attacks increases every day. That's why anti-virus protection is a priority for every computer user.
What's a hacker?
A 'hacker' used to stand for a computer user who was curious about the way systems worked and for that reason allowed oneself access to gain knowledge about this. Whenever a hacker had entered a system it often meant an improvement of the system for more efficiency. The only disadvantage was that hackers generally didn't have permission from the owner of the system to enter it.
Nowadays the term 'hacker' is being used to indicate persons who access electronic data illegally. They often access PC's, but major networks are also targets. The best known companies and governments have at some stage been attacked by a hacker.
Phishers are compared to hackers because they use 'social-engineering' to deceive their victims. For example, a phisher sends an email and makes it look as if it was sent by a bank, credit card company or E-money service like PayPal. Not only the email looks official, but also the domain name. This type of email often contains a message asking the receiver to update his personal details.
The phisher assumes that the receiver will read the email, will find the content credible and then clicks on the added link. The link opens up a website similar to the one of the real company. But this website is a fake, where the victim enters his or her personal details, which then are recorded and directly sent to the phisher.
Viruses, hackers and finally spam
In just a few years spam has developed into one of the major cyber threats. Unwanted mail can contain ads for any product you can possibly imagine, ranging from university degrees to pornography. The content of spam may be shocking at times, but that isn't the main issue: Spam hides individual mail boxes, causes Denial or Service attacks on company servers and spreads viruses.
Following are some good antivirus programmes (and manufacturers) to protect your Notebook:
- Norton AntiVirus programme
- McAfee Virusscan
- Norman Virus control
- Kaspersky AntiVirus
Spyware / Adware scanners :
- Windows Defender