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Antivirus Firewall Software Tip - Protect Yourself From the Many Faces of Malware PDF Print E-mail

Many threats besiege every computer today, especially those that are connected to networks. The most popular threat that's on the mouths and minds of many computer users is the computer virus. However, the term "computer virus" is actually used in a more general sense. The more accurate term for any piece of computer code designed to infiltrate a computer system without authorization is actually "malware." Computer viruses are just one of the many faces of malware. Most antivirus firewall software programs these days can combat malware, including true computer viruses.

Once malware code infiltrates your system, it can expose your computer to a lot of potential dangers. For example, the worst that can happen is for the malware code to completely erase all data from your computer's hard drive. Another possibility is that your computer's system files may become corrupted, and as a result, your computer may stop functioning altogether or become impaired. Yet another possibility is that an unauthorized user can gain access to your computer and its files, and, therefore, can steal information from your computer. Infiltration becomes very easy if your computer is not protected by antivirus firewall software.

Malware has many faces and has immense potential for damage not just to computers but also to personal lives and businesses. Three of the most common forms of malware are computer viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. These three are also believed to be riskier and threatening to computer security than the other forms of malware. With proper protection, however, malware programs such as these can be averted.

A computer virus can be likened to a real biological virus. They are alike in at least two senses. First, they cause damage only after they have infiltrated their hosts. In the case of computer viruses, the host is your computer system. The extent of damage that a computer virus does can vary. It depends, actually, on what the computer virus' author designed the program to do. Second, both computer virus and biological virus make copies of themselves and distribute these copies. Viruses are quite adept in this, too. They reproduce fast and try to spread to as many hosts as possible.

Computer viruses are dangerous because they corrupt or damage files. They do that by attaching themselves to computer files, especially the critical and sensitive system files. In many cases, the infected files become no longer usable.

Computer worms are another form of malware. Like computer viruses, worms have the ability to self-replicate. But, unlike computer viruses, worms don't usually attach themselves to computer files, so they don't normally change anything on your computer. Instead, their real damage lies in their intent to spread as fast as possible through the network. This results in network congestion. Some worms, however, are designed not just to spread but also to do other kinds of damage. For example, some worms make computer files unusable. Other worms also punch a security hole in your computer so that their authors can take over your computer from a remote location.

Trojan horses (usually only referred to as trojans) are named after the famous wooden horse used by the Greeks to conquer the city of Troy. The manner by which trojan horses can infiltrate your system is very much similar to the trickery that the Greeks used through the wooden horse. A trojan horse is a deceptive program. It makes you believe that it is a legitimate program that has a useful function, but once you open the program, the trojan horse unloads code that can damage your computer or network.

There are several other forms of malware besides these three. Many of them can cause great damage to computers and to networks. But, you can safeguard your computer and minimize the risk of infiltration by installing antivirus firewall software on your computer.


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