Protect Against Viruses and Spyware - Part I

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Introduction

This tutorial explains how to protect yourself from hidden viruses and suspected spyware that could steal information from your computer.

What are viruses and spyware?

Threat

Description

Viruses

These programs can automatically reproduce their own code by attaching, inserting, or copying themselves into other files. Other threats that resemble viruses include Trojan horse programs, which seem harmless (or even useful) until opened. Such programs then take unwanted actions, often in secret, compromising your security. A computer worm can make functional copies of all or part of itself on other computers connected to yours through a network.

Spyware

These programs can capture information from or take control of your computer without your informed consent. Some spyware programs just keep track of the websites you visit. More sinister forms of spyware collect private financial information, send junk mail through your Internet connection, or force your computer to participate in attacks against computer networks.

How does this security software detect and handle viruses and spyware?

Your security software analyzes basic information about every file that you open, save, or download. It will attempt to remove viruses from any infected files. Upon finding spyware or some other kind of "uncleanable" threat, it quarantines or deletes the file for your protection.