Viruses (including trojan horses and worms) are not just designed to cause harm to a computer or to launch a denial of service attack on a computer network. They’re increasingly used for fraudulent online activity aimed at parting you from your personal data and your money.
Viruses are contagion methods that can be used to:
- Install spyware/adware
- Scan machines for sensitive information
- Install keylogging software
A virus is a programme with the specific aim of replicating itself by infecting other files. The prime objective of any virus is to multiply and spread as far as possible.
A trojan horse differs from viruses and worms in the way that it spreads. It hides itself in a seemingly useful program of some kind (such as a screensaver or game) but does not attempt to duplicate or spread itself.
Different to the computer viruses that multiply within the system and spread by contact, worms are malicious programs designed to disrupt computer operation or gather sensitive information by spreading from one machine to another via a local network or the internet. Some worms can also spread as email attachments; other types of virus-worms spread by exploiting weaknesses in software and need no help from the user.
How can I protect myself?
Avoiding free software and installing good antivirus software, a firewall and spyware application will go a long way towards preventing viruses, trojan horses and worms from infecting your PC.
It’s important that you also ensure that you always keep up with your software updates, especially those of your operating system and web browser.
If you use a mobile device to access the internet, protect it by installing antivirus software.