Malware Summary

What is "malware"?

"malicious software": virus, trojan, spyware, etc.
There are many different kinds of programs which do bad things on your computer. They have technical names like virus, bot, trojan, spyware, key logger, adware, and more. All of them together can be called "malware". ("mal" is from Latin for "bad".)
For the professional, it is useful to know what these are and exactly what they do, so they can figure out how to get rid of them.
For us, all we know is: We want them GONE!

What does malware do?

What does "dangerous emails and webpages" mean? What do they actually do?
Malware will be annoying or harmful to your own computer:
But these days it does more than that!
It gets information from your computer:
It puts things on your computer:
It does this by installing programs on your computer to do these things .. plus more we don't know about!
It uses your computer! to harm others, or more: to steal
This uses your bandwidth and your computer ram, causing your connection and programs to run more slowly. Also makes it harder to trace the attack to its real source.
It is used by rival businesses (and governments):
to attack rival spammers/hackers
to attack other businesses
And there is now big money for the bad guys:
send spam to the stolen email addresses (money from advertisers in the spam)
sell the stolen email addresses to other spammers
steal from bank account (transfer to another account)
order things with stolen credit card number
resell malware on the black market for cash -- tens of thousands of dollars each! -- which are, in turn, used by exploiters to steal

How does the malware get into your computer?

How to protect yourself:

If you walk down the street, you don't hold out your hands (or your wallet!) and accept or give things to anyone you see. You have learned from childhood to recognise and choose, so it seems natural and you don't have to think about it. (In the west we call it "street smarts".) Computers are new, and we learn computer as adults. So it seems hard and complicated to "be safe" with computers. It isn't really — it's just something more to learn as you go through life.

If you can use Linux or Macintosh, do it.

Then ...

If you must use MS Windows, the most useful things you can do are:

First: Don't
Why? These programs are "tied in" to the operating system, and so are very easy for malware to get through to your computer.
Second: Do

Develop "net smarts" to go with your "street smarts"

Email:
Web:
Passwords:
Backups:

The above things alone will do a lot to protect you. If you want to be more involved in protecting your computer (which means: your files and your information!), then ...

Go further

Managing your programs:
Explore:
Watch out for "back door attacks" — hackers trying to get into your computer through the internet connection.

Know more

General info:
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