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Jul 08 2015

A Windows Upgrade, And Virus Definitions

By Bob Hooper for Island Eye News

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If you are a Windows user, you might have noticed the recent addition of a small icon on the lower left of your desktop on either Windows 7 or 8, it sort of looks like a flag or the Windows icon. If you click on it, it wants you to sign up to “upgrade” to Windows 10 toward the end of July as soon as it’s available. Whoopee! Just want you want, right?

Well not so fast… let’s let that new super duper upgrade come out for a bit and see what kind of bugs it might have. The “downgrade” back to Windows 7/8 is touted as simple but rarely does it work out that way. The upgrade will be free for a year so a couple of months will not make a difference and might save you some grief and money.

One other note about the upgrade from 7, for some unknown reason it will remove Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts. I don’t know why but there you are, makes you wonder sometimes.

I have not given out Malware (the name used for all types of crap that “infects” your computer) definitions in a while so let’s start with what is the most commonly used term: a Virus. Although most say this term to mean anything that infects their computer it is actually just one type of malware.

1. Virus: A virus is a contagious program or code that attaches itself to another piece of software, and then reproduces itself when that software is run. Most often this is spread by sharing software or files between computers.

2. Adware: The least dangerous and most lucrative Malware. Adware displays ads on your computer.

3. Spyware: Spyware is software that spies on you, tracking your Internet activities in order to send advertising (Adware) back to your system.

4. Worm: A program that replicates itself and destroys data and files on the computer. Worms work to “eat” the system operating files and data files until the drive is empty.

5. Trojan: The most dangerous Malware. Trojans are written with the purpose of discovering your financial information, taking over your computer’s system resources, and in larger systems creating a “denial-of-service attack.”

6. Denial-of-service attack: an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to those attempting to reach it. Example: AOL, Yahoo or your business network becoming unavailable.

7. Rootkit: This one is likened to the burglar hiding in the attic, waiting to take from you while you are not home. It is the hardest of all Malware to detect and therefore to remove; many experts recommend completely wiping your hard drive and reinstalling everything from scratch. It is designed to permit the other information gathering Malware to get the identity information from your computer without you realizing anything is going on.

8. Backdoors: Backdoors are much the same as Trojans or worms, except that they open a “backdoor” onto a computer, providing a network connection for hackers or other Malware to enter or for viruses or spam to be sent.

9. Keyloggers: Records everything you type on your PC in order to glean your log-in names, passwords, and other sensitive information, and send it on to the source of the keylogging program. Many times keyloggers are used by corporations and parents to acquire computer usage information from employees and children.

10. Rogue security software: This one deceives or misleads users. It pretends to be a good program to remove Malware infections, but all the while it is the Malware. Often it will turn off the real Anti-Virus software. The next image shows the typical screen for this Malware program, Antivirus 2010

11. Ransomware: If you see a screen that warns you that you have been locked out of your computer until you pay for your cybercrimes. Your system is severely infected with a form of Malware called Ransomware. It is not a real notification from the FBI, but, rather an infection of the system itself. Even if you pay to unlock the system, the system is unlocked, but you are not free of it locking you out again.

12. Browser Hijacker: When your homepage changes to look even just slightly different from usual, you may have been infected with one form or another of a Browser Hijacker. This dangerous Malware will redirect your normal search activity and give you the results the developers want you to see. Its intention is to make money off your web surfing. Using this homepage and not removing the Malware lets the source developers capture your surfing interests. This is especially dangerous when banking or shopping online. These homepages can look harmless, but in every case they allow other more infectious malware to infect your computer.

As always if you have questions or need help you can call or email me, Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or email at rentabob@live.com.

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