Hackers, viruses, malware, phishing software. None of these are good things. And all of them can cause big problems or minor annoyances to you, your kids, spouse or even your unsuspecting email contacts. It’s a good idea to know about these things and know what you can do about them. A good anti-virus software can help but we also need to make sure we understand what these words actually mean!
A quick Wikipedia search gives us some good definitions to understand what we are up against:
- Hacker – “someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network”. But a hacker can be a good thing too. It can mean someone who is innovative in their computer programming and makes something cool or unexpected happen.
- Virus – These bits of coding install themselves from things you click on online or in an email and replicate themselves across your computer and/or network.
“Viruses often perform some type of harmful activity on infected hosts, such as stealing hard disk space or CPU time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their contacts, or logging their keystrokes“
These are universally BAD. Logging Keystrokes, means it records what letters and numbers you type online – usually on secure websites, like your bank website. Bad.
- Malware – “a Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems”. Computer viruses are a type of malware.
- Phishing Software – “Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication“
So those are the things you need to look out for. What to do about them? Three things –
Keeping your kids (and your expensive equipment) safe takes a bit of effort to set up but once you install the anti-virus software and set up the regular, scheduled scans of your computers it does it on its own and you won’t even notice :0)
Do you use anti-virus software on your computer? Share your software with us below :0)
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