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Do you have a Virus?
Are you infested with pop-up ads, new toolbars in your browser, is your home page changed or are you bombarded with irritating spam? Perhaps your computer is running very slow or worst, you can't get on the internet. If so, your PC is most likely infected with adware, anti-adware, spyware, Spybot, trojans, viruses or other internet parasite. Viruses won't go away anytime soon! More than 160,000 viruses have been identified, and new viruses are created every day, according to the International Computer Security Association.

What is a Virus?
A computer virus is a program of executable code that has the ability to replicate. Like biological viruses, computer viruses can spread quickly and are often difficult to eradicate. They can attach themselves to just about any type of file and are spread as files that are copied and sent from individual to individual. Some computer viruses can also destroy files, reformat your hard drive, or cause other damage. If the virus does not contain a damage routine, it can cause trouble by consuming storage space and memory and degrading the overall performance and resources of your computer. Several years ago most viruses spread primarily via floppy disk, but the Internet has introduced new virus distribution mechanisms. With email now used as an essential business communication tool, viruses are spreading faster than ever. Viruses attached to email messages can infect a network or your computer in minutes, costing companies millions of dollars annually in lost productivity and virus extraction expenses.

What is Malware?
Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any malicious or unexpected program or code such as viruses, and trojans. What is Spyware? Spyware is short for advertising-supported software (Adware). Software that sends information about your internet habits back to the computer from which it's launched. Spyware is often built into free downloads and works in the background without a user's knowledge. Since it doesn't record an individual's personal information; it's often used to create marketing profiles based on surfing habits. Why is it called "Spyware"? While this may be a great concept, the downside is that the advertising companies also install additional tracking software on your system, which is continuously sending your tracking information over the internet. While according to the privacy policies of the companies, there will be no sensitive or identifying data collected from your system and you shall remain anonymous, it still remains the fact, that you have a "live" server sitting on the PC that is sending information about you and your surfing habits to a remote location.

What is a Rootkit?
A Rootkit is the hardest virus to detect. It is designed to hide in the computer's core processes making it difficult to detect. It often requires a complete wiping of the hard drive and reinstalling the original operating system. What is Dialer? Dialers can be costly. A black hat hacker can use a dialer to dial those expensive telephone numbers in small countries or to transmit stolen data.

What are Exploits?
Exploits are what keeps Bill Gates and Microsoft up late at night. Hackers try to find flaws in Windows to bypass security so they can get access to your computer. Service Pact 2 is an example of a patch that is used to correct a flaw in Windows. Is Spyware illegal? Even though the name may indicate so, spyware is not an illegal type of software in any way. However there are certain issues that a privacy oriented user may object to and therefore prefer not to use the product. This usually involves the tracking and sending of data and statistics via a server installed on the user's PC and the use of your Internet connection in the background. These tools are perfectly legal in most places, but, just like an ordinary tape recorder, if they are abused, they can seriously violate your privacy.

What's the hype about?
While legitimate adware companies will disclose the nature of data that is collected and transmitted in their privacy statement, there is almost no way for the user to actually control what data is being sent. The fact is that the technology is in theory capable of sending much more than just banner statistics - and this is why many people feel uncomfortable with the idea. When was the last time you read a privacy statement on a web site? Millions of people are using advertising supported "spyware" products and could not care less about the privacy hype, in fact some "Spyware" programs are among the most popular downloads on the Internet. Spyware is often bundled with free software and games. There are also many PC surveillance tools that allow the user to monitor all kinds of activity on a computer, ranging from keystroke capture, key loggers, snapshots, email logging, chat logging and just about everything else. These tools are often designed for parents, businesses and similar environments, but can be easily abused if they are installed on your computer without your knowledge.

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