Malware comes in many forms, and all are dangerous. Viruses and spyware are the best-known umbrellas that harmful programs fall under, but these categories are far-reaching. Understanding the specifics of these threats will make you aware of how important it is to have virus protection on your computer.
A Trojan horse operates just as it sounds. It masquerades as a helpful file, but actually allows a hacker to get access to your computer system when it's executed. Since Trojan horses present themselves as a gift, the easiest way to avoid them is staying careful about what you download. Common Trojan horses include Zeus, Beast, Sub7, and Netbus.
Worms exist for the primary purpose of replicating themselves and spreading to as many computers as possible. Some worms also damage the computer in the process, while others simply use up memory and clog network traffic. Mydoom and the Morris worm are examples of far-reaching worms.
Polymorphic viruses change form as they replicate, making them especially difficult to detect. Various anti-virus software programs give these viruses different names. Update your software regularly to make sure you have the most recent protection available.
Rootkit viruses come in many forms and may infect the computer as a worm, like the Stuxnet virus that targeted Mac computers, or as a Trojan horse like the NTRootkit in 1999. These viruses give the hacker remote access to the user's computer and put personal data at great risk.
File Infector Virus
File infector viruses are some of the most common threats to computers today. These viruses hide in a root file and infect the computer when the user executes said file. There are many different types of file infector viruses. One well-known example is the Cascade virus, which is largely obsolete today. These viruses typically hide in .exe files, so be careful about executing these if you don't know their origin.
Browser hijackers are easy to detect because they'll redirect your internet browser to a certain site. If you're using good anti-virus software in your browser, you'll probably be alerted to the redirect before you hit the desired page. These viruses are typically designed to try to increase traffic and ad revenue for a specific site.
Spyware is actually a group of malware that's separate from viruses, listed above. While viruses seek to infect and spread, spyware burrows into your system and quietly sets up shop on a single computer. The purpose of spyware is to give the hacker access to your private information. Common spyware programs include Gator, CoolWebSearch, 180SearchAssistant, Huntbar, and Cydoor.
Keeping your computer safe is simply a matter of staying informed. Download mindfully, make sure you know what you're putting on your computer, and always keep strong protection in the form of updated spyware and virus protection. These measures will keep your new Windows 8 laptop or desktop computer safe for years to come.