PC Safety101 HTML version
suggest you have a firewall, a firewall is really designed to stop other kinds of
problems, like malicious remote access issues (people “breaking into” your
system) and like wireless security is really a different category from malware.
In this report we’re going to focus on malware specifically.
First let’s take a quick look at the three major categories of malware. In the
biggest categorical sense, viruses and spyware represent very different basic
Viruses Make Your Machine Act Badly
The purpose of a software virus is to cause damage, either to your machine, or to
use your machine in a coordinated attack on other machines or indeed, on the
Viruses can generally be stopped before they hit your machine.
Spyware Transmits Information about You
Spyware is a buzzword that has many different facets and definitions.
Spyware is unlike a virus in that its purpose is rarely mayhem but rather
information gathering, which may be for legitimate marketing purposes (as
discussed in a few minutes), but more often is for purposes ranging from the
irritating and invasive to the downright criminal.
There are many different definitions for “spyware” out there now, but we think a
simple functional definition will help you understand the problem it represents
best. Some kinds of viruses – such as Trojans, which are bad programs hidden in
good ones – may actually meet the definition for spyware also, so it can be a little
One widely accepted definition is a pretty good one, as used by Information Week
magazine and numerous spyware websites:
© Copyright 2006 by Michael Rasmussen and Jason Tarasi - All Rights Reserved.