Virus laptopKids and teens using your computers? Although you may have anti-virus software installed on your computer children and teenagers are notorious for infecting systems. Most participate in P2P networks (peer-to-peer) which allow individuals to share software programs and files including music and video. Services like Morpheus, Kazaa, Ares and others allow files to be downloaded (usually illegally) and these files bypass Norton and McAfee. Many people believe that because they have a subscription to these services that the downloads are legal, THEY ARE NOT! Not only does your child's computer get infected, but it is entirely possible that all of the computers on your network will be infected.

What is Spyware?

bugAny software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers. Also called adware.

What is a Virus?

Programming code that was designed to do something usually counterproductive and occasionally destructive, whether through ignorance or malice. A virus makes copies of itself without any conscious human intervention. Some viruses do more than simply replicate themselves; they might display messages, install other software or files, delete software of files, etc. A virus requires the presence of some other program to replicate itself. Typically viruses spread by attaching themselves to programs and files. For example, the file formats for Microsoft word processor and spreadsheet programs allow the inclusion of programs called "macros" which can in some cases be a breeding ground for viruses.

What is Malware?

Malware is a category of malicious code that includes viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Destructive malware will utilize popular communication tools to spread, including worms sent through email and instant messages, Trojan horses dropped from web sites, and virus-infected files downloaded from peer-to-peer connections. Malware will also seek to exploit existing vulnerabilities on systems making their entry quiet and easy.

How Do You Know?

Malware works to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or by simply not making its presence on a system known to the user.