If you’re like so many people these days, it seems as if you spend half your homelife online. You bring work home or may even work at home full time. You shop, bank, and pay your bills online. And you surely text, email, and participate in social media with your friends.
What you may not realize as you tap away at your various keyboards and keypads is the extent to which you’re exposed to criminals who want nothing more than to wreak havoc on your finances and overall security.
Cybercrime is the second most reported economic crime, and criminals get more inventive every day. That’s why you need the best home tech support that you can find.
Test your knowledge of cybercrime with these questions:
What Is Spyware?
In a general sense, spyware is all software that works behind the scenes on your devices to keep tabs on what you do. But there are both good and bad kinds.
- “Cookies” are the good kind. When you visit a website it creates a cookie of information about your visit to the site as well as any information you’ve voluntarily offered. When you revisit the site, your browser passes the cookie back to it, allowing Etsy, for example, to show you a list of items you might like. Only the website that creates a cookie can access it, and cookies can’t transmit viruses. Recent regulations require websites to ask you to accept or opt out of cookies.
- Malicious spyware is the bad kind, operating the same way but doing it surreptitiously. The software is downloaded without your knowledge and records your passwords, codes, and whatever data you enter. By recording keystrokes as you type, it can steal social security numbers, banking and financial details, and allow access to your most personal information that can then be used for criminal activity.
Are Viruses And Worms The Same Thing?
Nope. For a virus to run, it requires an active host program or or an active operating system that is already infected. Worms are stand-alone malicious programs that can replicate themselves on computer networks without any additional operations.
- Viruses are typically attached to an executable file or word document. They commonly spread via email attachment downloads and file sharing, and by visits to infected websites. Once a virus has entered your system, it remains quiet until the infected program is activated, at which time it becomes active and can run and replicate on your system, affecting everything it finds.
- Worms don’t require a host program or file. They generally get into your system via a network connection or a downloaded file, and then can run wild and self-replicate. Not only that, but each generation of a worm can replicate itself and quickly spread through computer networks and the internet.
What Is A Trojan?
A Trojan, named for the Trojan horse of Greek mythology, is a variety of malicious software that tricks you into believing it’s legitimate. Once you’ve been deceived into downloading and executing a Trojan on your system, it can give criminals access to your system for purposes of spying, deleting or blocking data, modifying data, copying data, disrupting operations, and even taking complete backdoor remote control of entire computer networks. Fortunately, for all the damage they can do, Trojans cannot self-replicate.
Among the most devious and harmful Trojans are:
- Trojan-Downloader programs that can download and install new malware on your computer.
- Trojan-Dropper programs that are designed to prevent malware from being detected.
- Rootkit Trojans that give unauthorized users access to restricted areas of your system.
- Trojan-DDoS programs that conduct Denial of Service attacks by overwhelming a target address to the point it stops responding to legitimate users, effectively shutting down business operations.
What Is Ransomware?
It’s another kind of Trojan, a FakeAV program, that presents itself as antivirus software and warns you of a threat when none really exists. It typically spreads through phishing emails or visits to infected websites. You may have experienced having a screen pop up with a stern and frightening advisory to take some action or call a number immediately to ward off computer disaster. That’s ransomware intended to extort payment from you in exchange for the removal of the non-existent threat.
For the same reason you do what you can to protect yourself from criminals in your daily “real” life, you’ve got to be vigilant in doing all you can to keep yourself safe from cybercriminals in your life online.