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Security Threats : Something More than Virus !

When it comes to security threats, it’s no longer as simple as a virus. There are many kinds of malware that attack your machine. Here is a quick look at what they are and what they do.


A program that piggybacks on other files, and spreads with malicious intent, these are actually uncommon now

Common sources: public computers, flash memory, LAN
Solution: Use a security suite


Unlike a virus, a worm can spread without attaching itself to files. It is also programmed to change itself, making variants more difficult to detect. Sometimes worms are updated remotely.

Common sources: LAN, email
Solution: Update the system and anti-virus, use a firewall, track security patches


A Trojan is a software that pretends to work for you, but is actually doing something else, being a part of a botnet or allowing for unauthorized access.

Common sources: torrents, suspicious downloads, web sites
Solution: be careful of what you download


An exploit is an inherent “hole” in an operating system or software, that allows malware such as Trojans or viruses to spread

Common sources: The base operating system, installed software (such as office suites)
Solution: keep your system and applications updated

The Jargon File

Benchmark: A software for testing a particular piece of hardware. A graphic card benchmark would render a lot of polygons and effects. A CPU benchmark would feed in a lot of calculations, and so on.

Distro: A distro is a distribution, or flavor of the Linux operating system. Common Linux distros include Ubuntu, OpenSuse and Fedora.

Ethical Hacker: An ethical hacker is someone who finds out possible weaknesses in a network or a system before the bad guys do.

GUI: A GUI, pronounced Gooey, stands for Graphical User Interface, which is a set of buttons, windows, panels and other devices for users to interact with a machine using a mouse and a keyboard, or other input devices.

MID: Mobile Internet Device, can be a Mobile Phone with internet access, or a netbook. PMPs that interface with wireless networks are not MIDs. Any device that allows significant activity on various web sites is an MID.