Computer Health and Safety
Computer viruses are called viruses because they share some of the traits of biological viruses. A computer virus passes from computer to computer like a biological virus passes from person to person.
There are many different forms of electronic infection. The most common are:
* Viruses - A virus is a small piece of software that piggybacks on real programs. For example, a virus might attach itself to a program such as a spreadsheet program. Each time the spreadsheet program runs, the virus runs, too, and it has the chance to reproduce (by attaching to other programs) or wreak havoc.
* E-mail viruses - An e-mail virus moves around in e-mail messages, and usually replicates itself by automatically mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim's e-mail address book.
* Worms - A worm is a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security holes to replicate itself. A copy of the worm scans the network for another machine that has a specific security hole. It copies itself to the new machine using the security hole, and then starts replicating from there, as well.
* Trojan horses - A Trojan horse is simply a computer program. The program claims to do one thing (it may claim to be a game) but instead does damage when you run it (it may erase your hard disk). Trojan horses have no way to replicate automatically.
A firewall is simply a program or hardware device that filters the information coming through the Internet connection into your private network or computer system. If an incoming packet of information is flagged by the filters, it is not allowed through.
Did you know that every keystroke, every website and conversation can be recorded or monitored by people or companies that may have installed software on your PC, typically without your knowledge? Spyware can install itself on your computer either by running alongside an unrelated program or by installing itself onto your system by exploiting networking sofware holes.
All three programs are recommended, since each one seems
to detect pestware the others do not detect.
- Spybot & its associated Spyware Blaster, and
- Pest Patrol. Pest Patrol is the only commercial software in this
group. Pest Patrol is sometimes bundled with other software like