Tech Talk #18 – Feb 6, 2016

We know that we need to protect our computers from the “bad guys”, but who are they and what do they do?

  • Malware is short for malicious software. Malware refers to any computer program that is designed to do things that are harmful to or unwanted by the computer’s user. Computer viruses, worms, and spyware are examples of malware.
  • Viruses are computer code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.
  • Worms are self-replicating computer programs that spread malicious code. Worms utilize networks to send copies of the original code to other computers, causing harm by consuming bandwidth or possibly deleting files or sending documents via email. Worms can also install backdoors on computers.
  • Spyware is softwarethat is installed without your knowledge and gathers information about your browsing habits, intercepts your personal data, and transmits this information to a third party; usually for advertising purposes.
  • Trojans are a class of malware that take their name from the way they infect your computer. Like the classic story of the Trojan horse, Trojans hide themselves within seemingly harmless programs or try to trick you into installing them. Trojans do not replicate by infecting other files or computers.
  • Botnets are networks of computers created by malware and controlled remotely, without the knowledge of the users of those computers. Often used to send spam.
  • Phishing is a type of online identity theft using e-mail and fraudulent websites to steal personal information, in particular passwords, credit card and bank account details.


How to stay safe

  • Always run an AntiVirus (AV) program. Free programs like AVG Free or Avast Free are fine.
  • Keep your computer up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Yes, it’s OK to update Adobe Acrobat Reader whenever is asks you to. Which seems to happen every week.
  • Download and install MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware. If something triggers your AV program, let your AV program clean up the infection and then run Malware Bytes to make sure all the bad bits and bytes are gone.
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t click on suspicious links attachments or downloads.



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Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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