Online Threats That Can Put You and Your Machine at Risk

Today’s computing environment is full of threats that can come from different sources. Viruses and other malicious programs have started spreading from storage devices and have now evolved to conquer even the online environment.

At present, most viruses come from the Internet. The items below will help you distinguish online threats and other malicious online practices that can put you at risk:

1. Viruses

These are probably the most recognized form of threats to your data and your computer as well.

Viruses are typically small, malicious form of software and programs that operates rapidly once it comes in contact to your computer’s file system. Most viruses are designed to work automatically (some takes over a program component and others installs themselves on startup processes) and are also designed to replicate fast into multiple forms of files that can spread on your computer or even to other unprotected computers on your network.

Some forms of viruses are developed for nuisance purposes (displaying annoying and offensive images after replicating) but more advanced forms can be very destructive which can corrupt and delete critical files or even damage hard drives in an entire network.

At present, viruses are spread in many ways including attachment on emails, file transfers on instant messaging or files downloaded from unverified sites and services that provides file-sharing.

2. Worms

Worms can spread very fast even on a large network of computer systems all around the Internet space without human intervention which can take down computers or cause some to perform very slow and become useless.

While most are not considered malicious by nature, worms can cause computers to perform very slow which is why they cause extreme nuisance to most. They can also be used to spread even more malicious programs like powerful viruses in the long run.

3. Trojans

Trojan horse applications, as other people call them, are also another form of malicious software that cause some harmful effects on your machine that can lead to data loss, hacking, and theft of critical files.

Trojans disguise themselves as gaming applications, messages, jokes or even something that prevents viruses from gaining access to your computer. This application doesn’t replicate but can be very harmful once it starts doing it’s destructive job.

4. Keylogging

Known to some as “Keystroke Logging”, keylogging describes what this software does.

Programs capable of logging keyboard activity of a computer user operate quietly on your computer and can even run on remote computers in some cases which can be a very efficient tool for a hacker in gaining access to critical information.

This technique is used by cyber-criminals to access usernames and passwords and as well as account numbers and security PIN’s. By watching and keeping a record of the things you input, hackers would later use these information to access bank accounts and other information of you to their advantage.

Just like viruses, keyloggers commonly come from malicious/unverified websites and other downloaded files.

5. Phishing

Pronounced as “fishing,” like the hobby done on lakes and rivers, this technique is becoming popular on the Internet where an individual having malicious and ulterior motives disguises as someone that represents a service that’s being used in a clever attempt to get the user’s secure and other critical information.

Some attempts of phishing comes in the form of emails and links that often looks something authentic, reliable and by all sense real. Most of the time, when a user refuses to fill-out an online form; these individuals would threat to take action to do something to the account or may even claim that such actions are needed to further protect accounts which will otherwise become vulnerable to other threats.

For instance, you may at one time receive an email that looks like it came from your bank asking you to fill out an online form by clicking a link on the email. After clicking it, you will then be directed to a malicious site. In some cases, these individuals will even tell you to call a phone number to further confirm the information you entered.

Always Remember to Be Careful

While the Internet space invites more and more people to join it, the number of cyber-criminals seeking to rob you of some critical financial information also increases. It is always a good thing to protect your computer with the needed software (antivirus, internet security and other protection software programs) to avoid suffering further problems that may cost you your earnings and your identity as well.