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What is Malware


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Malware or malicious software is best defined as a form of software programs and types of programs designed to attack and prevent the use of the a single computer or entire network. The malware may come as a virus, trojan, worm or hidden program. Any program invading your privacy for the purpose of obtaining information for theft of identity is also malware.

A browser hijacker is a type of malware that alters your computer's browser settings taking you to Web sites that you do not want to visit nor have any intention of ever visiting. Most hijackers alter default home pages and search pages to those of their paying customers. More damaging versions often generate pornographic pop-up windows faster than you can click them shut. The malware may also redirect you to pornographic sites when you inadvertently mistype a URL or leave off thewww in your browser window. These malware programs leave behind many problems and some people have lost their jobs because of content and links found on their computers at work. Some have been charged with possession of illegal materials and family situations have been altered as a result. In one case in the United States one person was convicted of possession of child pornography although he claims to be the victim of malware.

Along with adware and spyware a malware browser hijacker may be installed as part of a freeware or shareware program. In this case the browser hijacker is often listed in the user agreement but not listed as a malware browser hijacker. Most people ignore or give a quick glance at the user agreement and then go ahead with the download. Malware may also be installed without user permission as a result of attachment to email, shared file or download.

Malware appears to have been started as a prank. Young programmers wrote these programs just to prove that they could get into other programs. As time passed however there began a more hostile intent of programs designed to vandalize or cause data loss. Some DOS viruses and Windows ExploreZip worm were designed to destroy files and corrupt the file system by writing junk data. In 2001 the Code Red worm and the Ramen worm fell into the same category designed to vandalize web pages everywhere the worm goes.

Another malware program designed strictly for income is spyware. Programs were designed to monitor users web browsing, collecting personal data and sending this information on to another person. Spyware programs do not spread like viruses or worms but are most often found attached to downloaded programs.

The best known types of malware are viruses and worms. These are known by the manner in which they spread. The term computer virus is used for a program which infects other software and worms spread to other computers automatically. Today most worms are written for the Windows Operating Systems. The worm scans the network for other computers, breaks into those computers and copies themselves over and over. Worms are a problem for all home and business computers. We must keep current all virus, worm and trojan definitions as well as spyware, adware and malware definitions. To keep your computers running efficiently find a good anti-virus program that also contains anti-spyware programs and firewalls. Run your virus scan daily after updating your definitions. This is your best defense against infection of your computer.

Stealware is a form of malware. Stealware is designed so that it replaces your affiliate commission ID with the ID of a third party when a purchase is made. Affiliate programs pay commissions based on the affiliate identification in the link at the time of the purchase. Stealware steals the commission earned by you when you ran the ads, wrote the articles and drove traffic to the sales site. The third party, who did nothing other than install stealware on your computer, gets paid for your work.

About the Author

Bonnie McCormick reviews and researches web hosting sites as well as web site builders and quality web services. For additional information on web hosting tools and services

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-02-01 09:27:44 in Computer Articles

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