In today’s computer environment, personal computer safety is a vital component of the risks that are involved in surfing the web. Web surfing, without having spyware or adware protection is like going to a healthcare facility or a nuclear site without protection. Millions of risks come from small nuisances to serious computer viruses and adware that can totally and permanently ruin the essential operations of a computer’s processing capability to the point that the entire desktop or laptop has to be recovered and all of the programs and data are rendered totally useless.
Spy and adware can be described as dangerous programs (mal-ware or malicious software) including a program code that is created with the worst of intentions. These functions can be anywhere from shutting down a system to entering information that would gain access to someone’s personal financial information and funds. Access to private communication is sometimes hacked to distribute to parties not entitled to such information. Adware and spyware are “shelters” where this malicious code hides such as infections, worms, spyware, adware, adware cookies and rootkits.
A computer virus risk degree can go from intense to serious. The problem with such viruses is that if on a networked computer as well as other programs within a computer system can affect the operations of not just the host computer but all computers on the network. These viruses multiply rapidly and damage the computers leading to the possible and probable destruction of programs as well as information vital to personal or company operations.
Low to advanced spyware is advertising and marketing display software that imposes on the computer user advertising and marketing software that displays numerous advertisements in such a way that is unexpected, unrequested and instantly charged to the consumer. Some of these programs have tracking functions to record the movements of a computer user to craft certain activities and advertisements accordingly. Adware and spyware might be set up to be used simultaneously on a network or a single user system.
Another type of malicious activity is called “phishing.” This can because severe damage and is typically used for fraudulent activity. The purpose of this activity is identity theft. The idea is to steal information such as bank cards, social security data, private ID and security passwords to gain access to sensitive information.
A phishing website can look like a legitimate website. This is what is so scary for the personal computer user. One can take a legitimate website and make it so that it looks legitimate to the point that one would input their personal private information. Sometimes one would receive an email that looks like something from a financial institution such as PayPal or a bank that would attract a naive individual to type their personal details using a web URL to the website that is, in reality, a “phished” website.
Recently phishers have created scams using the IRS rebates as the hook to claim potential victims. These messages are delivered with the official IRS logo that tells people that they are due a check but need to input their information such as addresses, social security information, bank account information and so forth. Once this information is obtained, identity thieves use this information for their own personal and evil activities.
The majority of trustworthy companies do not deliver email information that asks for personal private information. PayPal’s policy is that under no circumstances do they solicit their customers via e-mail promotions. The IRS has a fraud alert on their web page that informs the general public of this particular fraud. If you should receive such an email, simply push the SPAM button and leave the site immediately or at least contact the institution listed in the email for clarification or have the information delivered in some other manner.
Related Article: What is Spyware and Malware?