Computer Virus, Malware, and Spyware!  Oh my!

Think you might have a computer virus?  Are you experiencing pop ups?  Maybe you see unexpected web pages opening or your web searches are being redirected?  You might have malware or some other infection on your system!  Here are some commonly used terms that refer to digital threats: Virus, Worm, Trojan, Malware, Spyware, and Ransomware.  The most dastardly of these threats is Ransomware!  So, what exactly are these?  Here are some definitions:

Virus – A computer virus is a type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying a computer program and inserting its own code.

Worm – A computer worm is a standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers.

Trojan – Any malware which misleads users of its true intent.

Malware – Any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or computer network.  Malware does the damage after it is implanted or introduced in some way into a target’s computer and can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.

Spyware – Software that aims to gather information about a person or organization, sometimes without their knowledge, that may send such information to another entity without the consumer’s consent.

Ransomware – a type of malware from that threatens to publish a victim’s data or perpetually block access to the data unless a ransom is paid.

If your computer is infected, you will want to get your computer cleaned before any damage occurs.  If you are running Windows 10 there is a free anti-virus program built into the operating system called Windows Defender.  If, on Windows 7, then Microsoft has a program called Microsoft Security Essentials that is freely available.  There are other anti-virus applications available from vendors such as Avast, AVG, Symantec, McAfee, Sophos, BitDefender, Trend Micro, etc.  There is another company that created a program called Malwarebytes.  Malwarebytes has been moving up in the ranks for being able to protect computer systems and mobile devices.  Often, running a scan with your security software is not enough to remove the threats that may be on your computer’s hard drive.  Other tools are required to scan other areas of the operating system.  Further, an experienced technician may be necessary to manually check other areas of your computing environment and network.

If you’re in Lee County, Florida, and you need professional assistance to deal with a virus or other digital infection, please CONTACT US right away!

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