What is virus and spyware?
Virus and spyware, from here on collectively called Malware, are programs which
are unwanted on computers because their goal can range from being just mildly annoying to destroying
the filesystem on a computer.
Wikipedia provides the following definition:
"Malware [..] is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system, without the owner's consent. The term
describes the intent of the creator, rather than any particular features. Malware is commonly taken
to include computer viruses, Trojan horses, spyware and adware. In law, malware is sometimes known as
a computer contaminant..."
So why would anybody want to write malware at all? There are two often occuring reasons for this, the first
one being the prestige one can aquire in the cracker underground by writing a piece of malware so effective
that it can bypass thousands of firewalls and other security systems and infect vulnerable computers.
In this respect, writing malware is comparable to tagging in graffiti, where the goal is to achieve fame and respect
through ones pieces. The more people who sees it the better.
Secondly, there can be a finanscial angle to writing malware. An example of this is spam mail. For spam to be succesful,
it has to reach millions of email addresses. In order to do so effectively, one would need a rather good internet
connection and an ISP turning the blind eye to these millions of emails going through their mail server.
spam has become a crime in some countries, so its not just a matter of risking angry feedback as a spammer, one
could go to jail for it. Therefore, a smart move is to use not your own computer, but others - and even better:
lots of other peoples computers! By writing a worm that spreads from computer to computer on the net, a
cracker can make it install a bot-program on each computer it visits. This bot on each computer can then later
be triggered to send as much email as it can before either being shutdown by the user of the computer or till
the users internet connection is closed down. This is sometimes reffered to as a bot-net or zombie-net.
How to detect spyware and virus?
As is often the case, defense is the best attack. To avoid getting infected with some of this nasty stuff, your
best bet is to install (some are free even) anti virus and anti spyware programs. There are some realy good ones out there,
which are very up to date on the newest virusses and spyware. These include:
- AVG (perhaps the best free antivirus program)
- Ad-Aware (perhaps the best free spyware remover for personal use)
A good idea is to also use ZoneAlarm (the best free firewall according to many).
Sometimes, however, the malware gets past these defences anyway. If they do it is a matter of time before the effects
of it start to show. If it is particularly nasty one, your whole computer will be rendered unsuable. However, if it
is of the second kind described earlier, it will want to keep your computer alive and usable so you can go online with
it and it can perform its illegal tasks - like a parasite on a host. So how can this be detected?
ByteOMeter to the battle against spy ware and virus!
If the virus or spyware program is using your bandwidth to deliver tons of spam mail or is being used to flood
a server on the net with traffic, your bandwidth connection will suddenly feel pretty clogged.
But this happens sometimes of natural causes: Maybe somebody is using another computer in the house. Maybe your
ISP is having problems.
This is where ByteOMeter comes and delivers almost free anti virus and spyware functionality in the last line of
defense: By looking at ByteOMeters real-time graph and speed measurement, you can at least see if the traffic is
generated on your computer. Then, if it is not, and you have more computers connected to the net through an SNMP
router, you can have ByteOMeter monitor this router and one by one turn each computer on to see which one, if any, is generating the traffic.
And if you do find one, you know what to do: Install anti virus and anti spyware and don't
forget ByteOMeter too - the coolest internet speed monitor out there :)
Try now and see for yourself, download ByteOMeter