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Know the risks to your computer.

There are many risks to your internet enabled device and to yourself, iether through the many types of infections or personal data / identity theft. The risks aren't just limited to internet connected computers iether, if you share any storeage device with another computer, there's a risk, an infection could spread the old fashioned way.
Here's the A - Z...
Adware is short for advertising-supported software. Some programs, for example, are free or cheap because they contain embedded advertising. In some cases it may be possible to pay more for an advert-free version of the software.
Most adware is annoying but harmless; banner ads and pop-ups can be confusing, misleading and distracting. But in some cases, adware can be a threat to your PC security.
Some types of adware behave like spyware in that they can secretly monitor user activity and report information gathered back to marketing companies and, potentially, those who could misuse such data.
The easiest way to combat adware is not to install any software on your PC unless it comes from a trusted source.
* Using an anti-spyware utility can also help you detect and remove any adware.
Usually targeted at large corporate network users, such as banks and internet service providers, Denial of Service attacks are largely perpetrated by hackers or cyber criminals to prevent access to an online service. For example, a victim of a DoS attack may find that their website is taken offline.
DoS attacks sometimes take the shape of a flood of unsolicited network traffic that prevents legitimate network activity from occurring normally. An example of this might be a massive, targeted spam attack – known as a ‘mail bomb’, where millions of junk mail messages clog up a system. As a home user, you are not likely to be directly affected, however, a service you use may be attached, in which case that service may be unavailable for a time.
* A firewall is enough to protect you.
The term ‘hacker’ has a number of different meanings. Some people simply use the term to describe those who enjoy learning computer programming languages. The more well-known definition refers to people who use their knowledge of computer systems to gain unauthorised access to PCs in order to steal information, corrupt data or take remote control of a system.
Some hackers see themselves as digital activist heroes. Others hack systems simply because they enjoy the challenge or to extract data for use in ID theft or extortion. Hacking can take a number of forms.
Sometimes hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in systems. For example, a computer that is connected to the internet but is not protected by a firewall may be vulnerable to hackers who scan networks for open ports.
Other hackers use viruses, Trojans and phishing scams to fool users into allowing them access to their systems. A Trojan or virus, for instance, may leave behind a ‘backdoor’ that the hacker could use to access your PC.
* The best way defence against hackers is to keep your firewall on at all times and run regular system checks for viruses and other malware.
Some malicious software is able to log what you type into your computer keyboard and transmit this information to somebody who might misuse it. 
For example, a key logger might be able to record your credit card number, online banking password or other personal data that you type into your PC, then pass the information to criminals who could gain access to your finances or steal your identity.
Key logging malware can get into your system as a result of a Trojan or virus infection, and usually operates silently without the user’s knowledge.
* Key loggers are classed as spyware and your anti-spyware program should be able to detect and eliminate any that are present on your computer.
For many people, the word ‘virus’ has come to be a generic term used to describe anything that can infect our computers, but the word ‘malware’ would actually be more appropriate. Malware refers to any type of malicious software, including (but not limited to) viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, rootkits and other intentionally malevolent program code.  
Malware is spread by a variety of means. Some malware is designed to simply replicate itself, which can be an inconvenience. Other types are more destructive; some can cause your computer to behave erratically, others can corrupt data or even potentially allow another person to gain unauthorised access to your PC.
* The best protection here is to have a suit of defences a firewall, antivirus and antispyware.
The term phishing refers to any email or online scam that ‘hooks’ users and cons them into giving over personal data. Phishing scams usually take the form of a spoof email or website that looks like it comes from an official body, for example, your bank. They will usually requests that you input logins, passwords, credit card numbers, dates of birth and the like into an online form. 
The information is then passed on to criminals who can use it to steal your identity or access your finances. Many phishing emails and websites look just like the real thing and it can be hard to tell a fake.
* Use a spam filter, it should catch the majority of these messages before they reach your inbox.
* The latest internet browsers have built-in phishing filters.
Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks the victim’s access to his/her files.

There are two types of ransomware in circulation:

1) Encrypting ransomware, which incorporates advanced encryption algorithms. It’s designed to block system files and demand payment to provide the victim with the key that can decrypt the blocked content. Examples include CryptoLocker, Locky, CrytpoWall and more.

2) Locker ransomware, which locks the victim out of the operating system, making it impossible to access the desktop and any apps or files. The files are not encrypted in this case, but the attackers still ask for a ransom to unlock the infected computer. Examples include the police-themed ransomware or Winlocker.
* The only way to be sure not to be devastated by these infections, is to have regular backups of your data and have them kept off line so they don't get encrypted by the ransomware.
A dialler is a piece of software that’s used in a dial-up internet connection in order to connect to the net via a modem and a standard analogue telephone line. Non-broadband users use a dialler every time they connect to the internet. In such cases, your internet service provider (ISP) gives you a special phone number to type into your computer, or a special dialler utility with the ISP’s number already in place.
A rogue dialler is a malicious piece of software that usually gets installed without the users knowledge onto the PC (often through a trojan or virus infection), and performs the same function as a legitimate dialler, except that it calls a fraudulent telephone number, usually a premium rate one.
If a rogue dialler becomes installed on your computer, it’s possible that your PC could be secretly dialling up premium rate numbers and spending hours connected, potentially racking up huge phone bills for you. In this way, criminals can make a profit from the premium rate phone numbers that your system has dialled.
* The good news is that if you’ve already switched to broadband, you won’t be affected by this phenomenon, rogue diallers can’t take control of ADSL or cable broadband connections.
A rootkit is a collection of malware tools that replace fundamental files and settings on your PC and enables administrator level control over its vital workings. Rootkits are often used by hackers as a back door to gain control over a PC remotely. They’re usually installed accidentally, and are often part of a trojan or virus infection. 
* Many anti-malware applications can detect the presence of a rootkit on your system, but they are harder than most to remove. Often the only solution is to reformat your hard disk and re-install your operating system software from scratch.
The digital equivalent of junk mail, spam is the term given to any unsolicited email messages you receive. Most spam is harmless but very annoying. It’s a tiresome and unnecessary job to have to sift through dozens of junk messages to get to your real ones.
Some spam messages can contain material that is offensive, while others contain misleading marketing material or even hoaxes and scams. It’s usually sent automatically by spam ‘bots’, which harvest email addresses and send out junk mail in bulk. It’s important never to reply to spam, as doing so only confirms that your email address is genuine.
Estimates suggest that spam messages could account for as much as 85% of all email sent. Many internet service providers and webmail services such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Google Mail filter out spam for you, but you may still want a spam filter on your PC.
* Spam filters usually work using a ‘white list’ and a ‘black list’, putting any ‘black listed’ emails straight into a junk email folder as they arrive. Spam filters may misinterpret genuine emails as spam, however, so it’s a good idea to check the junk email folder before you delete the contents.
Any software that installs itself on your PC without your knowledge can be called spyware. Such programs may secretly install themselves as part of another program that you are installing intentionally.
Spyware has been known to exploit vulnerabilities in web browser software and install itself on a computer via a web page. It can also be spread by accidentally clicking on a link or a pop-up ad that looks like a legitimate Windows message.
A spyware infection could simply mean that annoying pop-up windows and adverts appear randomly on-screen. More serious side effects include bad system slowdowns and the sudden appearance of new toolbars, home pages and bookmarks in your browser.
In the worst cases, spyware may give criminals access to your valuable passwords or credit card details.
* Having an anti-spyware program installed is the only real way to protect your PC.
Trojan, so named after the famed Trojan Horse. A malicious program that gets into your computer by disguising itself as something else, such as an image file, a music file or a screensaver.
Clicking on such a file to open it will run the Trojan’s hidden program instead – sometimes referred to as a ‘payload’. Payloads differ from Trojan to Trojan. Some may use this method to infect your PC with a virus, a worm or some spyware.
Others may delete or damage valuable files. It is also possible for a Trojan to open a backdoor to your PC that could allow a hacker to gain access to personal data or take control of your entire computer.
* The best protection here is again to have a suit of defences a firewall, antivirus and antispyware.
The term ‘virus’ is often used as a catch-all to describe all kinds of security hazards but, in fact, it refers to a specific type of problem. A true computer virus is a program that can, like a biological virus, infect a system and replicate itself without the user’s knowledge. Infection requires a carrier, which can be anything from an email attachment, a downloaded file or program, a disk or a USB memory drive.
A virus cannot run on its own; it needs to be run by the computer user, for example by clicking on an infected email attachment. Viruses tend to be created by malicious program coders and are usually intended to spread as widely as possible and to cause general havoc.
Symptoms of a virus infection can sometimes be difficult to recognise. Some viruses can exploit your internet connection to spread themselves via your email account. Others fill up system memory or corrupt certain files, both of which can cause your PC to become unstable or lose data.
Windows PCs are generally more prone to viruses than Apple Macs and Linux systems, as there are far fewer viruses written for those operating systems. Theoretically, no computer is immune to virus infection though.
* The only way to protect against them is to use anti-virus software.
Like viruses, worms are programs that replicate themselves, usually over a network or the internet. Unlike viruses, they can run themselves and most aren’t dependent on the user accidentally clicking on an infected file (though some are).
A worm can copy itself over a computer network or the internet by simply exploiting vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure. Some worms spread themselves via email attachments. They behave a little like Trojans in that they pretend to be something else (a Word document or an harmless sounding file with an .EXE extension).
Most worms are created to do little more than copy themselves, and are incapable of physically damaging your computer. They can, however, cause serious disruption by clogging up network bandwidth as they copy and send themselves.
Some more malicious worms can provide a way for others to take control of your PC via a ‘back door’.
* The only way to protect against worms is by using a combination of firewall, antispyware and antivirus software and by keeping all your software including the operating system up to date.
A zombie computer is an internet-connected computer that has been attacked by a hacker, virus, or Trojan. It is then used under remote control, without the user's awareness, for malicious tasks including sending spam emails.  
* Again using a full complement of defences, firewall, antispyware and antivirus software to protect against these attacks.