There are a lot of threats in the online world. Most people use the term virus when talking about a potential computer infection, but there are several different threats out in cyber space. Below we have compiled a list of some of the threats on the web and what they are.
This is one of the most common threats to your computer. A virus will infect various files on a network or single computer. Viruses work by tricking a person into an action, whether it be clicking on a malicious link or downloading a malicious file. Once this action is taken, the virus will be transferred to the computer. Viruses also can infection removable storage devices like flash drives or external drives. The virus could do several different things to the infected machine. Most of the time it will change the way the computer operates and will replicate itself throughout the machine. Common symptoms of a virus is sending of spam, recording login information, hijack your web browser, disable security settings, or display unwanted ads.
Worms are malicious programs that will infect and exploit weaknesses in your operating system. Unlike viruses, a worm does not need to attach itself to a file or link to spread. As their physical brethren, a worm will crawl around to one place to the other. They can move from computer to computer or over various networks. A worm can spread at a very high rate, leaving a system at risk of crashing.
Trojans are similar to computer viruses, but it is a malicious program that is masked or embedded in a legitimate software program. Once that program is downloaded and installed the Trojan will install itself and execute its program. Trojans can delete your files, use your computer to hack into other computers, log your keystrokes, record usernames, or watch you through your webcam.
Spyware is a program that will spy on the computer or the network. They can come from many different places like websites, emails, or even indirectly through file sharing. These programs monitor your activity or capture your personal information.
Phishing is where scammers trick people in giving up personal information through legitimate looking emails. These attacks are some of the most successful around. They often look so real that people will willing enter in login or credit card information.
Ransomware is becoming a popular form of malware attacks. This form of attack will restrict your access to the files on your computer. A message will appear on the screen demanding you to pay money to get access to your files back. If this happens to you, do not pay any money as there is no guarantee that you will get access back to your files. Once they have been block, usually in the form of encryption, it is very difficult regain access. Make sure you are regularly backing up your information to avoid any potential data loss.
Spoofing is a technique similar to phishing where a website or email looks legitimate. A popular form of spoofing is WiFi Spoofing. This is where a public WiFi network is duplicated to try to trick people in to join them. People who use this form will target places that offer free WiFi like coffee shops. If you join a spoofed network, any information transferred can be seen by the spoofer.
Ultimately, all of these threats are created by people not computers. Hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to exploit people and steal their information. In best case scenarios hackers may lock you out of online accounts but they can destroy files and steal your credit card information. Always stay vigilant and if something doesn’t seem right give us a call. We will advise you on the best course of action.
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