There is a brand of online threats that has the ability to cause extensive damage to your computer system and render your stored personal information visible to selected unauthorised individuals. These are malicious applications generally called malware. They use various methods of gaining access to your computer system when software or information is downloaded. Some of the disguises they use are software, games, toolbars and various other kinds of utilities and information which is offered free for download from the internet.
Although malware is similar to a computer virus in many instances, it has a much more confounding effect on computer systems. Malware can take the form of adware, spyware, Trojans and rootkits. Once they have been allowed access, these malicious applications are able to transmit your stored personal information back to its developers. Other actions include logging your keystrokes, stealing of passwords, bombarding you with phishing emails and taking over your screen work area with multiple pop-ups. A common way of presenting itself is in the form of an anti-virus application. It runs an apparent system scan and produces a report of viruses located within your computer system. This form of malware then offers the service of its developer to clear your system from the offending virus in exchange for payment. These little applications are often difficult to remove and it is not always easy to terminate the system scans.
Malware are able to penetrate the security net of many PCs because of its ability to enter systems totally unnoticed, and it is often not easily detected by anti-virus software. Many forms of malware are only detected by special anti-malware software. It is further able keep its location a secret by being able to disable operating system utilities that is usually responsible for its detection.
An indicator of a possible infection is changes to the computer performance. These programs are intense users of system resources. The end result is that your system performance becomes extremely slow and may even become totally unresponsive with time. Whenever your computer performance becomes extremely downgraded, it could be sign that some malware might be hiding within your system.
Your web browser may also be used as an indicator of malware if it has the correct add-ons installed. Most browsers have a security setting which can be manipulated by the user. Always set this to the most secure option available. In this way you will be notified of any program attempting to download onto your computer.
Practice extremely caution when downloading anything from the internet, especially if it is from non-reputable web sites. Downloads always make themselves extremely inviting to encourage users. Malware makes use of this idea and may easily be mistaken for a legitimate download. Once downloaded, they can commence their evil acts of destruction and intervention of privacy. Some downloads have a licence or download agreement that needs to be accepted before downloading an application. Read these carefully as by agreeing, you might just be authorising the developer the right to install other malware to your computer.
If a malware attack is suspected, call in professional assistance to help clean-up your system.