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The 10 faces of computer malware

(Michael Kassner, TechRepublic) The complexity of today’s IT environment makes it easy for computer malware to exist, even flourish. Being informed about what’s out there is a good first step to avoid problems.

With all the different terms, definitions, and terminology, trying to figure out what’s what when it comes to computer malware can be difficult. To start things off, let’s define some key terms:
  1. Malware: Is malicious software that’s specifically developed to infiltrate or cause damage to computer systems without the owners knowing or their permission.
  2. Malcode: Is malicious programming code that’s introduced during the development stage of a software application and is commonly referred to as the malware’s payload.
  3. Anti-malware: Includes any program that combats malware, whether it’s real-time protection or detection and removal of existing malware. Anti-virus, anti-spyware applications and malware scanners are examples of anti-malware.

One important thing to remember about malware is that like its biological counterpart the number one goal is reproduction. Causing damage to a computer system, destroying data, or stealing sensitive information are all secondary objectives.

Is it even possible to reduce the harmful effect malware causes? Here are a few thoughts on the subject:
  1. Malware isn’t going away any time soon. Especially when it became evident that money, lots of money can be made from its use.
  2. Since all anti-malware applications are reactionary, they are destined to fail.
  3. Developers who create operating system and application software need to show zero tolerance for software vulnerabilities.
  4. Everyone who uses computers needs to take more ownership in learning how to react to the ever-changing malware environment in.
  5. It cannot be stressed enough, please make sure to keep operating system and application software up to date.

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