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Malware is a general title for all the different types of malicious programs that can inveigle their way into your computer. They are usually installed on your computer without your knowledge, and can cause a wide range of problems for you and your computer. The symptoms that you observe may range from slow performance to computer malfunction, (crashes, loss of data) to compromising of security, and even to complete loss of all data on your computer. The names for the main different types of malware are as follows:

Viruses, Worms, Wabbits, Trojans, Spyware, Backdoors, Exploits, Rootkits, Keyloggers, Diallers, URL injectors, Adware.

There is plenty of information about computer malware available on the internet, as a quick search with a search engine such as Google will reveal.

Information about how viruses work can be found at Howstuffworks

For a more in depth evaluation of some types of malware, here is an excellent article from Ars Technica

A useful website for comparison of different security software is

General advice:

We would strongly recommend that you install anti-malware software on your PC to protect you from these types of malicious programs, and make sure the Windows Firewall is enabled, or install another one.

Spyware and Adware

What are spyware & adware?

Spyware is similar to a computer virus, but it remains concealed on your PC and tracks your mouse clicks, text entries, website visits and so on. It can slow down your broadband connection, and, more importantly, can redirect anything you type (for example your credit card number) to somebody else who could use these details fraudulently.

Adware can also reside on your PC without your knowledge, causing unwanted advertising pop-ups, changing your default homepage, inserting strange icons onto your desktop or into your favourites, or resetting your chosen search engine.

How to get rid of spyware?

Prevention is better than a cure, especially as some of the worst types of spy- and ad-ware are very difficult, time consuming, and potentially costly to remove. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, a firewall, and keep your computer up to date with Microsoft Update.

Be aware that there are also many websites out there promoting anti-spyware software which claim to clean spyware off your PC, but they can actually install their own spyware and disable any anti-spyware software they find. This website, Spyware Warrior has in depth information, and lists of trustworthy and also rogue/suspect anti-spyware products & web sites.

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