No...Sadly, it never ends.
Unfortunately, it's not now, nor ever will be enough to go with the default tools included in Windows.
First off, Windows 7 is now in the hands of the public and at last report, it's got 10% of the market, that is, if you believe Microsoft's estimates.
Among those of us enjoying the benefits of Windows 7, the hacker community is no doubt, likewise having fun trying to find ways to break things in order to get in. That's their job. As Windows 7 gets more popularity, it's more likely that these guys will find things that can be exploited and will use them.
BUT, that's not to say that Windows 7 sucks or has weak security. The security is lightyears ahead of XP.
There are several things to keep in mind to stay safe.
1.) Avoid the dark corners of the Internet.
2.) Avoid clicking on links in SPAM emails.
3.) Keep Windows and other MS products updated regularly.
4.) Install good quality antimalware products including an antivirus, and an antimalware app and make sure they're updated regularly.
Now... By "good quality" - I mean NO McAfee or Norton! As evidenced this past week, McAfee can't be trusted. 9 out of 10 of the PC's I've rebuilt in the past 5 years have been because of Norton's complete failure to do it's job. As it is, both products are an epic FAIL in my book.
A good one I've had NO problem with would be Avast. It updates regularly. It does it's job well and it's free for home use. They also offer a paid for version.
Now then... The difference between a virus and other malware is a matter of semantics. A virus is a file that spreads itself to other systems. It can arrive through a link in an email, or as an attachment and can, depending on it's sophisitication, spread over a local network.
Spyware is classified as programs that spy on you - keyboard loggers are a good example of this sort of thing. They run in the background, trying to catch you typing in passwords on your banking sites and other shopping online so they can report your credit card info to their masters who will then proceed to run up purchases on your tab.
Adware is typically innocuous. It comes about when you visit a site and the ad(s) place a cookie on your hard drive. If you visit another site somewhere else that hosts adveristising from the same company, they can see the sort of things you're interested in and can target ads you might be interested in.
Bots on the other hand are programs that do other things - like spread spam, launch distributed denial of service attacks and so forth. These are the big money malware tools these days. These are typically "dropped" on your system by a trojan downloader.
The trojan finds its way on your system like a virus - by way of an email attachment, link to a fake video codec, or other socially engineered tricks and is executed. The downloader connects to it's command server on the internet and gets it's marching orders. It downloads tools for spamming or launching a DDoS attack.
Those tools then grab the info they need (spam template, mailing lists, IP addresses to attack) and then gets to work.
A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is one where you have a lot of computers all trying to access the same server at the exact same time. The server in question can't handle that much traffic at once and usually crashes.
Spam... I would assume you already know what that is. No further explanation is needed.
Both of these activities tend to be the big money makers for the people behind them. They charge other people money to send out spam for them or to take out someone's servers.
There are other forms of malware - there's the "ransomware" variety. These are programs that are more viral than anything and arrive in the typical viral manner. The ransomware program then launches and proceeds to take all of your data files and encrypts them. It then pops up a notice on your desktop telling you that those files are now being held for ransom. You have a limited amount of time to pay them some money or, the files will be deleted permanently. Since the files are encrypted with a fairly strong encryption scheme, the odds of decrypting them without the key before time's up is slim to none. And Slim left town.
The bottom line: As long as these activities can be leveraged into making money, they will continue exist. The "skript kiddies" have grown up and have figured out how to use their "mad skillz" into making money. LOTS of money. And as such, they will continue to find holes in operating systems like Windows and OSX.
As a side note - As OSX gains market share, it will likely get more and more attention from the bad guys. Contrary to the Mac mentality, OSX is not any better at keeping the baddies out. The only thing that's kept Macs safe is the lack of numbers. Why go after an operating system with only a few hundred million users when there's a pool of over a BILLION running Windows?
So what's a good antimalware package? I like two of the current offerings. Spybot Search and Destroy and Malwarebytes AntiMalware. Spybot S&D is a free app and catches quite a lot of things. MBAM (MalwareBytes AntiMalware) generally does a pretty good job of cleaning up anything Spybot leaves behind. MBAM has a free version and a paid for version.
Was this reply helpful? (0) (0)