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PC Magazine Fighting Spyware, Viruses, and Malware

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    fighting malware

    Tittel can certainly unsettle the reader! He warns of the increasing encroachments against your computer. The biggest single danger is that this might be your home computer. Not a computer at your workplace, for which you might be able to ask a sysadmin for help. So it's you and Tittel against the 3 menaces. Be aware that the terminology in the text and title may vary from what others use. Often, malware is taken to include viruses. I think he chose to break viruses out separately from malware so that the title would outreach to more people. Malware is still somewhat of a techie term, while spyware and viruses have broader recognition. Naturally, since we're discussing personal computers, the text tends to focus on those running a Microsoft operating system. But in fact, much of his advice applies to Macs and linux/unix machines. Though users of the former 2 types might take heart in knowing that most viruses or worms won't go after their machines. Tittel explains that increasingly, it's harder to draw clear lines between malware, spyware and adware. But he shows how to use existing anti-malware products that can scan for these and remove them. These products use combinations of signatures of known malware, and also search for 'strange' activity that is typical of malware. However, since new variants of malware are continually being developed and found, you should always download the latest sets of signatures from your vendor, before running the tests. Tittel also gives a succinct description of phishing. A particularly virulent type of malware that has increased enormously in the last 2 years. He suggests that you scrutinise the links and be very wary of any message that asks for personal information either in a reply, or in a web page pointed to from that message. Unfortunately, the phishers continue to refine their tactics and many users simply aren't savvy enough to follow Tittel's suggestions. These users may be a minority, but there are enough of them to make this worthwhile for the phishers.

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