Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Protecting your computer makes good sense!!!

It can delete important data or programs from your hard disk. It can constantly display annoying pop-up ads. It can slow your computer to a crawl or stop it from functioning. It can even help computer thieves steal your sensitive information and your identity.

It's malware — malicious software. And unless you take steps to prevent it from attacking your computer, you can be a victim of viruses, spyware, and adware. What's even more frustrating is that these programs can be so well-hidden on your computer that you can't find and remove them without the help of an anti-malware program. And in extreme cases, you may have to completely clean your hard disk and reinstall your operating system to rid yourself of these pests.

  • Viruses can infect your computer and spread to your friends

A virus is a program that inserts itself into other programs, documents, or email attachments. If you open a document or click a link or attachment in an email, you may download a virus. Once a computer is infected, a virus can do intentional damage, from slowing down a computer by overloading its memory, to destroying important data or programs. The virus may attempt to infect other computers by emailing or instant messaging itself to everyone in your address book.

  • Spyware can lurk in other software

Spyware is software that gathers information about you without your knowledge or consent. It "records" what you do with your computer (such as the web sites you visit) by tracking everything you type on your keyboard. Some spyware can even gather email addresses, passwords, and credit card information and transmit it to the company or persons that produced the spyware. The data may then be sold to other companies that use it to display their ads to you, or used by criminals to steal your identity. Spyware is often hidden in other software that is downloaded from the Internet.

  • Adware is more than annoying

Adware is software that displays advertising, such as pop-up ads, as you surf the Web. Some adware double as spyware and also collect your personal information without your consent. Like spyware, adware can be installed when you download a program from the Internet or install software from disks. Adware may not disclose its behavior before you install it or may not clearly identify itself as the source of ads.

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