Helpful terms when trying to understand the terminology associated with viruses and hoaxes. Viruses
In computer security technology, a virus is a self-replicating program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents (for a complete definition: see below). Thus, a computer virus behaves in a way similar to a biological virus, which spreads by inserting itself into living cells. Extending the analogy, the insertion of the virus into a program is termed infection, and the infected file (or executable code that is not part of a file) is called a host. Trojan Horses
Trojans are malicious programs that appear as harmless or desirable applications. Trojans are designed to be actively harmful to PCs by intentionally damaging PC operating systems, other software or hard drives. Trojans are generally distributed as email attachments or bundled with another software program (often fraudulent versions of legitimate software). A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program, similar to a computer virus. A virus attaches itself to, and becomes part of, another executable program; however, a worm is self-contained and does not need to be part of another program to propagate itself. They are often designed to exploit the file transmission capabilities found on many computers. Phishing
In computing, phishing is the act of attempting to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business with a real need for such information in a seemingly official electronic notification or message (most often an email, or an instant message). It is a form of social engineering attack.Adware
A software application that can display advertising banners while the program is running or via some other triggering mechanism is called adware. Ad delivery systems are most often integrated into free applications as a way for developers to recover costs or generate revenue. A critical eye has been placed on adware system since in many cases, in addition to downloading ads, they may also upload user information collected without explicit permission. Spyware
Spyware often installs as a third-party component bundled with a freeware or shareware application, just like adware, making the distinction between the two somewhat vague. Spyware includes code used to gather and transmit information about the user or his or her behaviour to a third party. This statistical data often is collected without the knowledge or consent of the user. All definitions provided courtesy of Wikipedia.org.
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