Malware
Malware software is designed to infect and possibly damage a computer system without the user’s
consent. The term literally means malicious software and thus combines the words. Malware is a general
term to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software code.

Not all Malware are viruses. Many people including media reporters are not familiar of the specific
definitions and proper use of the terms Malware, Virus, Worms, etc and often coin there encounter as
that of a “Virus” infection when describing all types of Malware. Malware includes Viruses, Worms,
Trojan Horses, most Rootkits, Spyware, Adware, and other malicious and unwanted software.

The type of Malware is identified by the manner in which it is spread rather than the particular designed
motive of the malicious code. The term computer Virus is used for a program which has infected some
executable software code which causes that software, when run, to spread the virus to other executable
software. Viruses may also contain a payload which performs other malicious actions. A Worm, on the
other hand, is a program which actively transmits itself over a network to infect other computers, a
Worm may also carry a payload. Spyware, alternatively, is computer software that is installed on a
personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's computer and is installed without
the user’s consent and sometimes in the background without the user knowing.

These definitions identify that a Virus and Spyware requires user intervention to spread, whereas
Worms spreads automatically.


Spy-What?!
Spyware is computer software that is installed on a PC to intercept or take partial control over the user's
computer, without the user's informed consent usually for the purpose of recording Web surfing habits
(primarily for marketing purposes). Spyware sends this information to its creator or to other interested
parties when the infected computer is online. Spyware is sometimes also designed to collect confidential
information including user keystrokes, which means that private information such as login names,
passwords, and credit card numbers can be transmitted back to the creator or a third party.

Many computers today are infected with Spyware (i.e. Malware) causing system problems, slow downs,
and program errors. Computers can display many different symptoms that may not even seem related,
your system may become slow, or hesitant, work sometimes, or just won't work at all. Viruses, Worms
and Trojans need to be eliminated early in the process, as they can keep returning, multiplying, and
spreading if not properly treated.


Intentions
For those interested in learning more and are curious as to why programmers would write malicious
software code it is interesting to note many early infectious programs were written as experiments or
pranks generally intended to be harmless or just annoying and not necessarily to cause damage to
systems. Programmers learning about viruses and there techniques wrote them only to prove that they
could or to see how far there code could spread.

On the other hand, a slightly more hostile intent can be found in Worm programs which are designed to
vandalize or cause data loss. Many Worms were designed to destroy files on a hard disk, or to corrupt
the file system by writing garbage data; as was the case with ExploreZip, discovered in 1999 which was
a destructive computer worm that attacks machines running Microsoft Windows. In 2001 the network
born Code Red Worm was uncovered, it has the ability to deface websites. The latest worms are often
intended to vandalize web pages; these worms are the online equivalent to graffiti, often displaying the
creator’s alias or affiliation group everywhere the worm travels.

With the rise and availability of broadband Internet access there has been a tremendous rise of
Malware written for financial gain. Infected "zombie computers" are used to send untraceable email
Spam, or to host contraband data such as child pornography and are sometimes designed to deliver
denial of service attacks as a form of extortion; many reports of black-market and mafia tied exploitation
have surfaced. Other Malware, referred to as "Stealware" by the media, overwrites affiliate marketing
codes so that revenue goes to the Spyware creator rather than the intended recipient.

Spyware programs as of late are more often being designed for financial gain by monitoring users' web
browsing tendencies, or by displaying unsolicited advertisements, or redirecting affiliate marketing
revenues to the Spyware creator. The advantage for the spammers using infected computers is that
they are available in large supply (thanks to the virus itself, the vast broadband networks of the Web,
and often weak home user security) and using other peoples PCs provides anonymity, protecting the
spammer from prosecution. Spyware programs do not spread like viruses; they are generally installed
by exploiting security holes or are packaged with user-installed software. Although, in 2008 we are
hearing reports of Spyware being installed as you are simply surfing the Web and happen along an
infected Website.


Defense
The best defense is to be proactive and regularly update and run not only your Antivirus software but
also install update and run AntiSpyware software on a regular basis. New malicious code is released
daily so the more often you update and scan the better off you are!

Keep your PC happy and health, simply visit our Downloads page for the latest free downloads to help
protect your PC. At Right-Click Computer Services, LLC we recommend users follow the “Essential Tips
for Maintaining a PC” guide which is free to download at our PC Maintenance page; click here to learn
more. The guide outlines the weekly and monthly steps needed to maintain a PC and specifically
recommends a three step approach to battle Malware and details the use of 1.) AVG Antivirus, along
with 2.) Ad-Aware, and the use of 3.) Spybot - Search & Destroy as the necessary tools of the time;
Antivirus software alone is no longer enough in the fight against Malware!

If you still run into problems, bring your PC in to Right-Click Computer Services, LLC for a
comprehensive cleaning and optimization of your system; we can rid your PC of those malicious Viruses,
Worms, and Trojans and get you back up and running today!
Spy-What?!
Spyware is
computer software
that is installed  on
a personal
computer to
intercept or take
partial control over
the user's
computer, without
the user's informed
consent.
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