When we think of computer security the first thing that comes to mind are viruses and their variants that wreak havoc upon our computers.
But do you know that viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are not the only enemies threaten your pc security?
Here are some other baddies that can attack your computer and do unimaginable damage:
Dialers are not as well-known as viruses but they certainly can do a lot of damage not only to your computer but to your pocketbook. When they get into your computer they will make your computer to call long distance or premium calls and you wouldn’t know this is happening until you get a hefty phone bill. They also can change the phone number you use to connect with the dial-up connection with the result that you won’t be able to connect to the internet but somebody else may be using the surfing time while you pay for it.
Snoopers: Spyware and Adware
These are other sneaky programs that can do another kind of harm to your computer. Spyware and adware are used inter-changeably by many, but they are two different animals. Of these, adware is considered less dangerous because it sends you un-requested advertising to your computer while you are surfing while not damaging your computer registry in anyway.
From the point of computer security such actions of the adware might sound less threatening, but consider the effect of adult content popping up on the computer screen when your kids are surfing the internet. This aside, the unwanted pop-ups and ads are a nuisance to your surfing experience.
On the other hand spyware is more harmful. When it is on your computer it will gather information about which sites you visit, where you shop or surf. This information is used to send you ads related to your interest. While this may not sound too sinister, the spyware can get your usernames, passwords and also personal financial information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers all of which can be used to impersonate you and involve you in financial loss as well as get you into potentially difficult situations.
This is one of the most dreadful things that can happen to a computer. Here a hacker literally takes control of your computer without your knowing it. In the hands of the hijacker, the computer turns into a mindless zombie committing illegal acts which can be blamed upon you.
This could be sending massive amounts of spam emails or attacking web pages of other sites which are considered criminal offense.
This threat is more insidious because when a hijacker takes control of a computer, the owner doesn’t normally become aware that there is anything wrong with his machine. Such hijacked computer may become a little slower but as this can happen because of many other causes. So the computer owner is blissfully aware of the trouble that he could land into because of such hacking.
Can all this happen to you?
While it is unlikely that all that bad things that can happen to a computer would happen to you. But assume that they will. Because such things do happen to other computers, it is possible that your computer may come under threat sometimes.
Starting with this premise, install a firewall on your computer if you haven’t done so already. A firewall acts as a shield against unwanted programs carrying malware. While you can invest in paid firewall if you wish, you can also use Zone Alarm which is free and very effective.
Also scan your computer for viruses, spyware and adware. Use good antivirus and antispyware programs. Here also you have the choice of free and paid versions from many reputed vendors. Paid or free whichever you use make sure to get the latest versions which can not only detect the viruses present on your computer but can also successfully destroy them.
And above all, be security conscious. Learn all you can about pc security and always be on the guard. This is like auto insurance. While we don’t expect to get into an auto crash every time we drive out, we do take out auto insurance – just in case. So is it with pc security. Never let down your guard. You can come under attack anytime.