malwareMany of us work hard to keep our bodies healthy and virus-free. From vitamins and supplements to flu shots, we use preventative measures to ward off illness.

Your computer needs a similar level of preventative care and concern. With today’s technology, many computers are always-on and connected, and therefore need to be protected from the many viruses and malicious things lurking beyond the screen.

Malware is the term used to describe the malicious things that can infect your computer, and includes:

  • Spyware: A program that secretly records what you do on your computer. Some spyware is legitimate, but the majority is malicious, installed without the user’s knowledge, and designed to collect and transmit personal information like passwords, credentials, and credit card details.
  • Adware: A program designed to display advertisements on your computer, redirect your search requests to advertising websites, and collect data about you. These are an annoyance at best to most users, but can result in spyware on your computer.
  • Worm: A program that self-replicates to spread to other computers. Worms use networks to send copies of the original code to other computers, causing harm by consuming bandwidth and ultimately impacting performance on the impacted computer and across the network.
  • Virus: A program written to alter or damage files on your computer. Viruses are often spread from computer to computer by attachments and can corrupt or delete data, use your email to spread to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard disk.

Some of our own customers have been impacted by malware. Watch out for a pop-up claiming to be from Midwest Connections, similar to the one shown. If you click on this, it will start a chain reaction that can infect your computer with malware. The rule of thumb for pop-ups: if you aren’t sure about it, don’t click it. Click the “X” to close out of it, or close your browser. Midwest Connections does not use pop-up ads for our service.

Free virus protection software is available, but those are typically used in reaction to a virus. Invest in anti-virus software that provides active protection, scanning while you’re online to prevent a virus from getting onto your system. Some programs even offer protection for your wireless devices. Learn more about some of the top anti-spyware/malware programs and keep your computer healthy!