What are Viruses and Spyware?

You can never be too careful about browsing the Web nowadays. Many have fallen prey to virus attacks, which can do damage to software and even hardware. There are tools to help protect you from viruses and spywares. Though, not everything is 100% effective, it will help provide you with some protection.

Anti-Virus Software

A computer virus is a computer program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into codes or documents. Damage from viruses can range from being destructive, benign, or just annoying. The major effect of viruses is their uncontrolled self-reproduction, which wastes computer resources.

Types of viruses include:

  • Trojan horse is a computer program that pretends to do one thing (like pretend to be a picture), but actually does damage when you click on it or download it. It can erase your files or ruin your hard drive.
  • A worm is software that uses computer networks and flaws in security to create copies of it. Then it
  • Email viruses
  • An email virus will use an email message as transportation, and will copy itself by automatically mailing itself to hundreds of people in the victim’s address book.

Anti-Spyware Software

Spyware is software that performs actions such as advertising, collecting personal data, or changing the configuration of your computer, usually without obtaining your consent. Spyware that displays advertisements and tracks your personal information is known as adware. This does not mean that all software which provides ads or tracks your online activities is spyware.

Other kinds of spyware are known as malware. These make changes to your system, without your permission, and can cause your computer to slow down or crash. Programs known as browser hijackers can change your web browser’s home page or search page, or add components to your browser you don’t need or want. These programs also make it very difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you originally had them.

There are a number of ways spyware can get on your system. A common way is to attach itself to another software and install itself without your knowledge or consent, during the installation of another program. Many times misleading pop-up ads trick you into clicking on them and then spyware is installed.

To download free or free to try antivirus or anti-spyware software, you can visit sites like CNET, which also provides editor and user reviews for the programs.

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