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Viruses, Worms, And Trojans – A Basic Guide To Malware

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An overwhelming majority of tech users mistakenly attribute the term “virus” to virtually any category of malicious software. In reality, a virus is only one of the various existing subsets of malicious digital menaces that exist today.

Three of the most common types of malicious software – viruses, trojans, and worms – are noticeably different in the methods that they use to attack your digital resources. All three of them fall under the umbrella-like term: malware; which is a portmanteau of “malicious software”. However, virtually all antivirus software worth mentioning will be able to rid your device of these three types of malware (if it doesn’t, it’s time to get a new antivirus program).

Not to be confused with Spyware and Spy Software – again, different problems to worry about! You can check out more information about spy software here.

Viruses

So what does a virus do? Well similarly to its namesake, the biological virus (which infects cells), a computer virus seeks to infect uncontaminated files. If you have an infected file on your device, once you open/run that file the virus activates and tries to infect uncontaminated files on your device.

One of the most common file types that a virus will try to attach itself to is an .exe file. These are the files that execute whenever you open a program on your computer, so the virus will activate concurrently with the program. Viruses may also seek out documents, such as Word of Excel files. These files are commonly shared with other users via USB devices, emails, etc.; this serves to prolong the lifespan of a virus and ensure that it propagates or “reproduces” onto another device.

Viruses can get a lot worse. At times they may even succeed at going further than simply attaching themselves to a file – they may completely replace it (deleting it and masquerading as it). Last but not least, they can corrupt your system by obfuscating and using up your system memory, leading to crashes and malfunctions.

Worms

So what does a worm do? Worms differ from viruses in a few ways. Firstly, they never actually need to be activated by users so that they can spread – they are standalone software. Secondly, they don’t actually try to infect files on your device, their main goal is to replicate themselves and distribute these copies.

For some worms (e.g. Mydoom) this may mean that they copy themselves and make an attempt to email themselves to your contacts. Some worms (e.g. Blaster) are more tenacious, they may abuse the weaknesses in unprotected networks by infecting connected systems that have weak firewalls that they can bypass. These worms can essentially slow a network to a standstill by creating an immense traffic load.

However, just like a virus, a worm can carry out the same malevolent activities once it breaches your system’s protections.

Trojans

So what does a trojan do? Now most people are familiar with the story of the Trojan horse – the giant wooden horse that the Greeks gave to the Trojans under the guise of gift.malware_trojan_121 However, it wasn’t a gift, inside the horse were Greek soldiers who facilitated the destruction of Troy once they were safely inside the gates. Trojan malware are exactly like their namesake. Trojans act like legitimate useful software; however, once they have been added to your system they open a “backdoor” and let the invaders into your system. One of the most common things that they do is add your system to a botnet so that it can be utilized to perform nefarious deeds. They can even use this connection to add other malware to your device or system. Trojans will virtually never try to spread themselves, they will instead act innocent and hide in the shadows – waiting to strike.

What Else Is There?

Sadly, this isn’t all that here is in terms of types of malware. Some other common malware types are:

Scareware –

This is commonly found on popular web pages, it takes the form of a notification that claims that your system is infected or at risk and that you should download a linked antivirus program to clean your system or remain safe. This is a lie. Most of them will request payment and ask that you give your credit card number – this is a big red flag! It will also latch onto your system and try to stay there until you pay up or purge it.

Spyware –

This does exactly what it says on the tin: It spies on your actions. This can be something as simple as a key logger; software that records your keystrokes so that it can steal valuable information such as passwords and credit card information. Spyware can also be advertising software that observes your internet based activity and reports back to its creators. Spyware can sometimes fly under the radar of some antivirus programs, so do a bit of research to find out just what exactly your antivirus looks for and finds – Windows Defender has been known to be able to root out numerous cases of spyware.

Is there anything essential that we left off? Want to find out more about malware and the dangers they pose to your system? Ask away in the comments below!

Google Secrets, Tips and Tricks

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Let’s be honest, Google is now as far away as possible from their original credo: Don’t be evil. It’s just another money-hungry IT giant bent on getting more profit and more control, while it monopolizes the market in its spare time. Like it or not, it’s still the number one search in the world, and still the best, even though some of its competitors, like Bing, or Yahoo have the edge when it comes to certain things, but they are nowhere near jeopardizing Google position as the world’s most popular search engine.

But, even though we use Google all the time, most of us still don’t know all the ins and outs of it. Of course, we are not talking about the stuff underneath the hood, or behind closed doors, because that’s a closely guarded secret. What we are talking about are little known tips and tricks that will help you get more accurate search results. So, let’s get straight to the point, shall we?

Google Reverse Image Search

Before you go and think of us as amateurs, we started with this one, because we were stunned by the number of people who weren’t even aware that Google’s reverse image search existed.search_google_33 They were like, what? This is one of our favorite things about Google. You have a photo of something, and you want to trace it back to its source, or find other images from the same gallery. Simply drag and drop it into the image search box, let Google do its magic, and voila! You are provided with a list of all the websites that host the same image.

Search Any Website through Google

There are a lot of great websites out there that we like, but some of them could use a better search algorithm, because more often than not, the search doesn’t return any useful results, or any at all, even though we know the page exists, because we were on it at the time. Even YouTube, which is owned by Google, doesn’t return some of the videos we have already watched. That’s where Google comes in.

For instance, if you want to search a particular site, let’s say YouTube, since we’ve mentioned it, you can simply type site: youtube.com, followed by the terms you wish to search. You can use this for pretty much anything other than websites, including forums, blogs, video streams, web services, free downloads and more. Simply put, it can find anything.

Using Operators to Fine-Tune Your Google Search

For those among you who are electrical engineers, software develops or web designers, the use of operators is something you perform on a daily basis. But, if you don’t belong in any of the former categories, you are probably not familiar with them. Operators are a useful tool that should be used by everyone, not just experts. You may have even used some of them, without being aware of it. For instance, words “and” and “or” are operators, as well, which allow you to search multiple terms. But, what you probably don’t know is that you can use “around”, which is sort of like a mix of regular search and search with the use of quotes.

Also, “around(2)” can be used when you want the terms to be in proximity to each other, but not in a specific order. Changing the number inside the parentheses allows you to fine-tune the level of accuracy. Last, but not least, you can also exclude a certain word from your search completely. You do this simply by typing a dash in front of the terms you don’t want searched. This also works for websites, which lets narrow down the search results even further.

Try some of these tips out and see what you can find!

The Complete Guide to Clearing Your Browser History

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Unless you’re new to the internet, you should know about browser history. Jokes about deleting your history are rampant, and for good reason. Everything you do on the net is tracked, from your websites, your search history, your preferences and cookies. This will tell people your browsing habits. You don’t want a friend, spouse, or family member to see your questionable browsing habits, so in this guide we’ll tell you ways you can clear your history automatically.We’ll cover all of the major browsers, so let’s first look at: Continue reading