It sounds like a science fiction movie, but it’s fact. Hackers want to get into your computer so that they can use or sell your data, or just for the fun of it, and they have automated programs that do it for them. These programs allow hackers to monitor, control, and corrupt your computer.
Viruses and Malware
A virus is a program that replicates itself and moves from one computer to another. It may cause damage to data or interfere with the usual functioning of the computer or its devices.
The term ‘virus’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘malware’ but they are different. A virus is a type of malware.
Malware is any kind of malicious software program. It includes a long list of nasty things such as adware, spyware, tracking cookies, Trojans, worms, bots, keyloggers, rootkits and more. These programs could be used to disrupt the functioning of your computer like a virus, or they could be used to monitor what you do online or gain access to your files, websites, and accounts.
How to Protect Yourself against Attacks
There are always new threats that security experts are discovering. Malware doesn’t take a vacation and neither should you. You need to be proactive in protecting your computer and your website from attack. If malware infects your computer, it can pass from there to your website. This can lead to the loss or compromise of vital data about you or your customers, including financial data.
The first line of defense is to invest in a good Internet security software program. These programs run constantly, scanning your computer for malware. If something is found, the program notifies you and offers to get rid of the threat for you. The programmers of the software also offer updates whenever new threats are discovered.
There is no single best security program out there, but there are quite a few big names, including Norton and Symantec. Read online reviews of software programs so that you can make an informed purchase.
You also need a good firewall. A firewall is like a gate that controls what comes into your system. It doesn’t allow unauthorized access. Firewalls are very effective at stopping malware before it takes control of your computer.
Tips for Staying Malware-Free
Your web surfing behavior can make a major difference as well. It all starts with the browser you use. Some browsers have better security than others. Firefox is generally considered to be the best. Safari, Opera, and Chrome are all more secure than Internet Explorer, which has a reputation for holes in its programming that allow attacks to get through.
Be careful what you download. You can inadvertently install a malware program when you think you’re downloading something. Email attachments that ask you to click on a link may also install malware. There are a number of widespread phishing scams posing as urgent emails from your bank or PayPal. Don’t download anything from file sharing sites, and avoid adult sites and game cheat sites.