Viruses not only spread to PC’s and networks via disks; they can also be introduced via e-mail, Internet downloads, USB devices and third-party software.
Viruses, Spyware, Trojans all fit into a category called Malicious software (also known as Malware) which is designed to cause damage, trick you into visiting fraudulent websites or steal personal or financial information.
As I have previously stated, the simple case is that its up to you to protect yourself, there are many websites, products and services to help you accomplish this but the first stage is to better understand the risks and at the very minimum the simple tips to stay protected.
The most important thing to remember is that the ultimate goal of Malware is to stay hidden for as long as possible, abusing your computer (If its been told to send spam message for example) or to capture all your information as you interact with internet services.
Even with the latest antivirus products, these pesky malicious programs can still stay hidden. But not for long, the more protection you have the less chance they have to stay undetected.
Some of the things which Malware can do:
- Send Spam messages from your computer (without your knowledge)
- Pass on the malware to other computers (when your computer connects to others at home or on the internet)
- Capture all information typed into the computer
- Capture and manipulate all information displayed on your computer (Including asking for additional information for them to take over your bank account or credit card accounts)
- Allow Remote control by the fraudster of your computer, to either allow them to access your files or to use your computer to conduct fraud remotely.
- Always use Antivirus and Antispyware software, keep it up to date and never disable it
- Don’t install software or visit websites which you do not trust
- Always stop and think if your computer is acting strange (Powering on by itself or using the internet without you pressing a button)
The internet is a magical place, we just all need to be aware of some of the dangers, just like visiting a new place, we dont always know how safe it is, in a similar fashion the internet is vast and contains safe places and “Dodgy” places.
Its best to check before travelling and if you must travel, then take precautions.