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8 Common Types of Computer Viruses Essay

Dictionary.com defines a computer virus as “a segment of self-replicating code planted illegally in a computer program, often to damage or shut down a system or network (“Virus,” 2012).” The term virus has become more generic over the years and has come to represent any type of malware, or malicious software. There are many types of malware that can be classified as viruses but it is the intention of this paper to examine 8 of the most common types. These types are virus, worms, trojans, adware/pop-up ads, spyware, keyloggers, rootkits, and scareware.

* Virus- as defined above, a virus is self-replicating code planted in a computer program. This malware’s sole purpose is to destroy or shut down systems and networks. (“Virus,” 2012). * Worms- These are standalone programs whose sole purpose is to replicate and spread themselves to other computers. Their main use is to search for and delete certain files from computers. * Trojans- This malware is designed to look like a useful program while giving control of the computer to another computer. It can be used for several malicious things: * As part of a botnet to use automated spamming or distribute denial-of-service attacks. * Electronic money theft

* Data theft
* Downloading or uploading of files to the computer
* Deletion or modification of files
* Crashing the computer
* Watching the viewer’s screen
* Anonymous internet viewing

* Adware/pop-up ads- “The definition of adware is a software package which displays or downloads advertisements to a computer. These ads are usually in the form of pop-ups, and the goal of adware is to generate revenue for its author. In itself, adware is harmless, however, some of it may come integrated with spyware (What is the definition of adware? 2012).” * Spyware- Malware used to collect information about a user’s browsing habits or to intercept personal data. (“Spyware”, 2012). * Keylogger- Using dedicated software or implanted hardware, this malware covertly monitors and records every keystroke made on a remote computer. (“Keylogger”, 2012). * Rootkits- “A rootkit is a collection of tools (programs) that enable administrator-level access to a computer or computer network.”

“A rootkit may consist of spyware and other programs that: monitor traffic and keystrokes; create a “backdoor” into the system for the hacker’s use; alter log files; attack other machines on the network; and alter existing system tools to escape detection. (“Rootkit”, 2012) * Scareware- This is a class of malware that represents itself as antivirus software even though it is fake. It is used primarily to scam people into purchasing it but in most cases it does not actually do anything. Sometimes it will contain another piece of malware that it injects into the computer system.

References
Virus. (2012). Virus. Dictionary.com Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com /browse/virus. Spyware. (2012). Spyware. Dictionary.com Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com /browse/spyware. Keylogger. (2012). Keylogger. Dictionary.com Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com /browse/keylogger. Rubenking, Neil J. (2010) “Antivirus, and much more: when most people talk about antivirus software, they’re really talking about an app that blocks spyware, rootkits, keyloggers, scareware, Trojans, and more–not just viruses. We review 13 antivirus apps that do just that.” PC Magazine : 72+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.itt-tech.edu/ps /i.do?id=GALE%7CA226958047&v=2.1&u=itted&it=r&p=CDB&sw=w. What is. (2012). What is the definition of adware? DirectHit.com. Retrieved from http://www.directhit.com/shopping-answers/what_is_the_definition_of_adware?oo=0 Different Types. (2012). Different types of computer viruses. Buzzle.com. Retrieved from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/different-types-of-computer-viruses.html Rootkit. (2012). Rootkit. SearchMidmarketSecurity. Retrieved from http://searchmidmarketsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/rootkit Scareware. (2012). Scareware. Ask.com. Retrieved from http://www.ask.com/wiki/Scareware


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