The Importance of One: Security Starts with You
A computer virus is computer program that can covertly replicate itself on other computers. A virus is often difficult to detect, since it is purposely hidden inside another presumably safe program. Some viruses are spread by using your system as a “host” to distribute or store the virus.
A worm is computer program or application that does not need to hide itself in another program. Worms are designed to be difficult or impossible to detect and tend to replicate themselves using computer networks, rather than individual computers.
A Trojan horse is a computer program disguised as a valuable program that instead performs some malicious function when used. Victims are lured into installing a Trojan horse by an interesting file name or promise to perform a useful function. Trojan horses are used to open up vulnerabilities in your computer – often to use your computer as a host for criminal activity.
A botnet (robot network) uses a computer in a remote location to infect multiple computer systems with the same virus, worm, or Trojan horse. Botnets create mass distribution capabilities for Internet thieves. Botnets are difficult to detect, since they do not disable a computer entirely, as Internet access is needed to send and receive files and information. Botnets can overload networks and shut down servers, but more importantly, it can operate completely undetected, collecting personal information, sending spam, or perpetrating a host of other malicious activity.
Protect your system from becoming infected with these tips:
- Install antivirus software and be aware of software updates. The TTU IT Division provides Symantec AntiVirus for free download to the TTU community. Download your copy at www.eraider.ttu.edu.
- Do not open email attachments or links to websites you receive unless you are expecting them. If you suspect you have received a virus through email, contact the person who sent it to you and let them know. Along those same lines, do not download programs from untrusted sources.
- Viruses are often contained in forwarded email with cute or interesting pictures, heart-warming stories, or “soap-box” messages. Learn to recognize these emails, even if they are from your email friends. Don’t open or forward these types of emails, because you may infect your system, as well as those that receive your forwarded message.
- Enable automatic updates for your operating system and applications. Security updates or critical updates reduce your vulnerability to known viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.