Types of Malware
Just as the name implies, phishing is when folks with ill intentions “fish” around for your confidential information. Usually what happens is you’ll receive an email from what appears to be a legitimate company that attempts to trick you into handing out personal information, such as a credit card number or a social security number.
It is often your worst possible nightmare. Unbeknown to you, someone has managed to steal your personal information, such as a credit card number or social security number, and then uses this information to obtain credit, merchandise, and other services, all on your dime. Oftentimes, people don’t realize their identity has been stolen until the damage is already done.
A computer virus is a self-replicating computer program that is bound and determined to infect as many computers as possible, destroying every piece of data it can in its wake. Many viruses are found in executable files. This is exactly why your computer prompts you with a message notifying you that you are downloading an executable file and that you are absolutely sure you trust and know the sender.
Some describe pharming as phishing without a lure. How’s that? Well, when a scammer “phishes” for your personal information, they are usually luring you or someone else with an email that appears to have been sent from a legitimate website. It’s an individual attack. With pharming, a large number of users can be attacked. Multiple users are essentially directed to a fraudulent website (even when they think it’s a legitimate site).
Everyone has probably received by now at least one email, typically written in all caps and in broken English, from a wealthy foreigner requesting you help him move large sums of money through your bank account and offering a significant reward in the process. Guess what? There is neither a wealthy foreigner nor reward at the other end of that email wielding a large check with your name on it.
As the name suggests, spyware is software that spies on you. It begins accumulating bits and pieces of your online habits without you knowing it. Spyware is typically associated with adware (display advertisements) that can sometimes be bundled into other software you wish to install on your computer and starts collecting your personal information without your consent. Some can even change the configuration of your computer.