What are computer viruses?
What are “spyware” and “adware”?
The terms "spyware" and "adware" apply to several different technologies. The two important things to know about them is that: (1) They can download themselves onto your computer without your permission (typically when you visit an unsafe website or open an unsafe attachment) (2) They can make your computer do things you don't want it to do. This might be as simple as opening an advertisement you didn't want to see, or as devastating as tracking your online movements, stealing your passwords, and compromising your accounts.
What is a “botnet”?
Botnets are networks of computers infected by malware (computer viruses, key loggers, and other malicious software) and controlled remotely by criminals, usually for financial gain or to launch attacks on websites or networks.
Many botnets are designed to harvest data such as passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, and other personal information. The data is then used for identity theft, credit card fraud, spamming, website attacks, and malware distribution.
What can I do to protect myself?
SOURCE: National Cyber Security Alliance Cyber Threat Resources booklet, November 2012
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