We know we've been blabbing about it: Go get an antivirus software to protect your PC!
It's a sound advice, one that ever geek should follow to a tee. But, here's the thing: Do we really now what malware really is?
With that hanging inside our coconuts, we'd like to give you a description of each kind of malware threatening our rigs. And since we're in the holidays, we see this as sakto timing since the brains behind them will be more active in trying to scam and victimize.
Read below for a little bit of Malware 101!
WHAT IS A MALWARE?
Short for malicious software, the term malware describes any software that can disrupt or change your PCs operation in a negative way. Symptoms include but are not limited to the following: weird pop-ups, very slow operation, error messages, missing files--basically your rig going bonkers. As a clarification, malware usually comes from shady third-party developers. That means they're different from legit but defective software that can also affect have a bad effect on a computer.
As for what the different malware types are, there's a lot but the most popular are viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware. Let's get to know each of them a little bit better below, shall we?
VIRUSES (AKA THE SHADY POSTER BOY)
Know it: The most popular type of malware, viruses have been around since the late '80s, so much so that for many of us, malware = virus. They are small programs or pieces of code that infect your PC and when they're activated, they inject themselves into other files, replicate, attach to other programs, and spread. If your rig is a carrier and is connected to the Internet, there's a chance they'll spread to other computers, too. This similarity (read: nakakahawa effect) with biological viruses is the reason behind the name.
A virus might steal hard disk space and corrupt files, thereby slowing your PC down. They can even access confidential information (e.g. log-in credentials, bank account numbers) and send it back to its maker.
Distinguishing factor: A virus cannot activate or spread without your help and needs a host file. For example, if you receive, say, an email with a shady attachment but you don't click or open it, then you're still technically safe. Delete it right away, bro!