Virus Information

Overview

What are malware and viruses?

Malware
Malware is the general term meaning “malicious software,” is a term used to describe any software that attempts to damage computers, servers, or computer networks. A “botnet” is a network of computers infected with a particular type of malware, which allows the attacker to perform certain automated tasks over the internet without you knowing it, such as sending spam.

Virus
A computer virus is a program designed to spread to as many files or computers as possible in order to steal personal information, damage computers, etc. A “worm” propagates itself across many computers by creating copies of itself.

How computers get infected and why they get infected?
There are many ways for a computer to get infected by malware and viruses. The following are the most common ways computers become infected:

Software vulnerabilities
Malware writers and attackers commonly use holes in the security in older versions of software (such as Adobe, Java, Windows Media Player and the Windows operating system) in order to infect computers.

Internet attacks
Many infections are contracted by visiting malicious websites, downloading pirated software, and “drive-by” downloads, or downloads that occur without the user’s knowledge or consent. This is usually done through the exploitation of web browsers or vulnerabilities in an operating system.

File sharing
Infections are also contracted through P2P or “peer-to-peer” clients that use torrents or other file sharing protocols. Sometimes the malware can be disguised as “normal” files, such as songs, movies, documents, and software. Some of these programs can download viruses or malware without the user’s knowledge.

Files and links
Links are sometimes posted on social networking sites or in emails to bring users to malicious websites.  Commonly, malicious emails use attached files with the extension .exe, .com, .bat, or .pdf. Verify that the source is trustworthy before opening these file types.

Getting Started

Please visit the protect your computer page for information on preventing viruses.