It is easy to get malware on your PC. One can get infected by merely visiting a webpage. Malware can capture all of your keystrokes and steal personal information – even your identity, hijack your entire PC and use it to infect others, erase your data files, and serve up nasty pop-up ads – even when you’re not on the internet.
We’ll help you keep all of the definitions straight – trojans, viruses… spyware?!? And we reveal shocking statistics about recent invasions – around the world and maybe even on your PC – and we’ll let you know what to watch for.
Adware refers to programs designed to launch advertisements, often pop-up banners, on host machines and/or to re-direct search engine results to promotional websites. Adware programs are often built into freeware or shareware programs where the adware becomes an indirect price for the free program.
The generic term used by Kaspersky Lab to describe programs that are legitimate in themselves, but that have the potential for misuse by cyber criminals, for example, remote administration utilities. Such programs have always had the potential to be misused, but they now have a higher profile.
Spam is the name commonly given to unsolicited email. It is effectively unrequested advertising, the e-mail equivalent of physical junk mail delivered through the post or from unsolicited telemarketing calls.
Worms are generally considered to be a subset of viruses, but with key differences. A worm is a computer program that replicates, but does not infect other files. Instead, it installs itself on a victim computer and then looks for a way to spread to other computers.
This term was once used to describe a clever programmer. In recent years, this term has been applied to those who exploit security vulnerabilities to try and break into a computer system. Originally, those who broke into computer systems (for malicious purposes or as a challenge) were known as crackers.
The name “phishing” is a conscious misspelling of the word “fishing” and involves a type of Internet fraud that seeks to acquire a user’s credentials by deception. It includes theft of passwords, credit card numbers, bank account details and other confidential information.
A Trojan is a non-replicating program that appears to be legitimate but is designed to carry out some harmful action on the victim’s computer.
“Spyware” is often loosely defined as software that is designed to gather data from a computer and forward it to a third party without the user’s consent.
In the first quarter of 2010, Kaspersky Lab alone detected 12,111,862 unpatched vulnerabilities on users’ computers, which is 6.9 percent more than in the previous quarter.
If a threat is able to evade several layers of Web and mail protection, then it will end up on a user’s computer, where an antivirus program should be ready and waiting. Let us see what was detected by the latter and examine the breakdown of the behaviors of detected threats in Q1 2010.