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Got a Sick computer? Just like us humans, computers can catch illnesses from the world. Practice safe hex to keep your computer safe from those nasties out in the cruel world.

MALWARE (MALicious softWARE)
Software designed to destroy, aggravate and otherwise make life unhappy. See virus, worm, logic bomb, macro virus, Word macro virus and Trojan horse. Includes Spyware, Adware, Identity Theft, Phishing, and Pharming.
Definitions from:

THE CURE - VIRUS Best to always have a up to date anti-virus program on your computer. The major ones are McAfee, Norton, and Trend. Others are available but I feel Mcafee is one of the best. Remember to be effective it must be up to date and these will update themselves when on line. If you think you may have a virus the following sites can scan and clean your computer if you can get online. If virus found run them again!

  • Run your system installed anti-virus program
  • Housecall Trend Micro's Free Online Scan - http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
  • McAfee's Free Online Scan - http://us.mcafee.com/root/mfs/default.asp?cid=9059
  • Mcafee's AVERT Stinger To use, Open to run online, set Preferences to Boot sectors & All Files and scan. http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/
  • AVAST free virus cleaner, limited but gets most common http://www.avast.com/
  • Panda ActiveScan is the free online anti virus which you can use to easily clean the viruses in your computer. What's more, it also detects any spyware programs that could be hidden.
    Detects and eliminates over 90,000 viruses. NEW! Detects over 85,000 spyware programs. NEW! Includes TruPreventô Technologies that detect unknown malware. Itís FREE. Itís online.
  • Panda software also has new scan Infected or Not and Nanoscan

But if you can not get online how do you clean the virus? Most Anti-Virus programs will make a rescue disk for you but it is getting harder to get that all on a floppy.So you could get the Mcafee AVERT Stinger on a jumpdisk or CD from a computer that does have Internet access.

CURE SPYWARE/ADWARE These will slow down your computer, hijack your start/home page or try to send your personal information back to their creators. There are many commercial programs but the best free ones are:

BROWSER HIJACKING - one malware is the hijack of your start page, often making it very hard to reset. Beware of Search Toolbars - many are just Adware sources - I only trust Google's - it has a good pop-up blocker.  http://www.google.com/downloads/

DEFINATIONS
VIRUS Software used to infect a computer. After the virus code is written, it is buried within an existing program. Once that program is executed, the virus code is activated and attaches copies of itself to other programs in the system. Infected programs copy the virus to other programs. The effect of the virus may be a simple prank that pops up a message on screen out of the blue, or it may destroy programs and data right away or on a certain date. It can lay dormant and do its damage once a year. For example, the Michelangelo virus contaminates the machine on Michelangelo's birthday.
Viruses Must Be Run to Do Damage
A virus is not inserted into data. It is a self-contained program or code that attaches itself to an existing application in a manner that causes it to be executed when the application is run. Macro viruses, although hidden within documents (data), are similar. It is in the execution of the macro that the damage is done.
E-Mail Attachments Are Suspect
File attachments in e-mail messages are a common way of infecting a computer, providing the user clicks on the attachment. If the attachment is an executable file, it can do anything when run. Examples of executables are files with extensions such as .BAT, .COM, .EXE, .SCR, and .SHS (see dangerous extensions and double extension).
Viruses Are Relatively Recent
The term virus was coined in the early 1980s, supposedly after a graduate student presented the concept of a program that could "infect" other programs. Since then, more than 80,000 viruses have been defined. However, 99% of the infections are from only a few hundred variants found "in the wild." Since 1993, the WildList Organization has been keeping track of virus attacks around the world. For more information, visit www.wildlist.org. For a sampling of different virus infections, see virus examples. See in the wild, quarantine, macro virus, e-mail virus, behavior blocking, polymorphic virus, stealth virus, worm, boot virus, vandal, virus hoaxes and crypto rage.
Be Careful Out There!
If you use the Internet for any purpose, be sure you have an anti virus program running at all times. Be Careful when opening files - especially from Internet and E-mail - best to download first then scan - DO NOT OPEN if suspect. but then we have the false alarms. Check this site http://www.vmyths.com// - Truths About Computer Virus Myths & Hoaxes.
Learn more at http://www.sophos.com/ , McAfee's Virus information site us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/,and Norton's Symantec Security Response


Spyware Vs. Viruses

Since spyware and adware are unwanted software, it would seem that anti virus software should detect spyware and adware as well as viruses and trojans. Although some security suites provide all these capabilities, anti spyware and anti virus modules are typically separate functions. Perhaps, it evolved in different camps because the intent of the software is different. Virus writers want to be exposed to the world at large so they can one-up their peers, the "xyz virus contaminated 100 million computers" type of glory. On the other hand, spyware writers want their software to remain hidden and perform their tasks for months to come. However, trojans are viruses that are designed to remain hidden in the computer as well, so the two philosophies do overlap. Perhaps, in time, a new category of "anti-insanity" software will take care of all of it.

phishing Pronounced "fishing," it is a scam to steal valuable information such as credit card and social security numbers, user IDs and passwords. Also known as "brand spoofing," an official-looking e-mail is sent to potential victims pretending to be from their ISP, bank or retail establishment. E-mails can be sent to people on selected lists or on any list, expecting that some percentage of recipients will actually have an account with the real organization.
E-Mail Is the "Bait"
The e-mail states that due to internal accounting errors or some other pretext, certain information must be updated to continue your service. A link in the message directs the user to a Web page that asks for financial information. The page looks genuine, because it is easy to fake a valid Web site. Any HTML page on the Web can be copied and modified to suit the phishing scheme.
Anyone Can Phish
A "phishing kit" is a set of software tools that help the novice phisher imitate a target Web site and make mass mailings. It may even include lists of e-mail addresses. How thoughtful of people to create these kits. In the meantime, if you suspect a phishing scheme, you can report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at http://www.antiphishing.org/   READ MORE
MailFrontier Phishing IQ Test

pharming Setting up a fraudulent Web site that contains copies of pages from a legitimate Web site in order to capture confidential information from users. By hacking into DNS servers and changing IP addresses (see DNS hijacking), users are automatically redirected to the bogus site, at least for some period of time until the DNS records can be restored. For example, if a bank's DNS were changed, users could be redirected to a Web site that looks familiar. The bogus site could just collect usernames and passwords, or it could allow access to the site and, using some pretense, request financial information. Unlike phishing schemes that use e-mail to make people go to the phony site, pharming is more natural. Users are going to the site on their own and are certainly not suspicious because the pages look familiar.

DNS hijacking
An illegal change to a DNS server that directs a URL to a different Web site. In some cases, the new Web site's URL may have one different letter in the name that might go unnoticed. The bogus Web site might offer similar and/or competing products for sale, or it may be a vehicle to publicly smear the reputation of the intended Web site. See DNSSec, DNS cache poisoning

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