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What Is the Difference: Viruses, Worms, Trojans, and Bots?

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What Is the Difference: Viruses, Worms, Trojans, and Bots?

Introduction
Viruses, worms, Trojans, and bots are all part of a class of software called malware. Malware or malicious code (malcode) is short for malicious software. It is code or software that is specifically designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or in general inflict some other “bad” or illegitimate action on data, hosts, or networks.

There are many different classes of malware that have varying ways of infecting systems and propagating themselves. Malware can infect systems by being bundled with other programs or attached as macros to files. Others are installed by exploiting a known vulnerability in an operating system (OS), network device, or other software, such as a hole in a browser that only requires users to visit a website to infect their computers. The vast majority, however, are installed by some action from a user, such as clicking an email attachment or downloading a file from the Internet.

Some of the more commonly known types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojans, bots, backdoors, spyware, and adware. Damage from malware varies from causing minor irritation (such as browser popup ads), to stealing confidential information or money, destroying data, and compromising and/or entirely disabling systems and networks.

Malware cannot damage the physical hardware of systems and network equipment, but it can damage the data and software residing on the equipment. Malware should also not be confused with defective software, which is intended for legitimate purposes but has errors or bugs.

 

Classes of Malicious Software
Two of the most common types of malware are viruses and worms. These types of programs are able to self-replicate and can spread copies of themselves, which might even be modified copies. To be classified as a virus or worm, malware must have the ability to propagate. The difference is that a worm operates more or less independently of other files, whereas a virus depends on a host program to spread itself. These and other classes of malicious software are described below.

Viruses
A computer virus is a type of malware that propagates by inserting a copy of itself into and becoming part of another program. It spreads from one computer to another, leaving infections as it travels. Viruses can range in severity from causing mildly annoying effects to damaging data or software and causing denial-of-service (DoS) conditions. Almost all viruses are attached to an executable file, which means the virus may exist on a system but will not be active or able to spread until a user runs or opens the malicious host file or program. When the host code is executed, the viral code is executed as well. Normally, the host program keeps functioning after it is infected by the virus. However, some viruses overwrite other programs with copies of themselves, which destroys the host program altogether. Viruses spread when the software or document they are attached to is transferred from one computer to another using the network, a disk, file sharing, or infected email attachments.

Worms
Computer worms are similar to viruses in that they replicate functional copies of themselves and can cause the same type of damage. In contrast to viruses, which require the spreading of an infected host file, worms are standalone software and do not require a host program or human help to propagate. To spread, worms either exploit a vulnerability on the target system or use some kind of social engineering to trick users into executing them. A worm enters a computer through a vulnerability in the system and takes advantage of file-transport or information-transport features on the system, allowing it to travel unaided.

Trojans
A Trojan is another type of malware named after the wooden horse the Greeks used to infiltrate Troy. It is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems. After it is activated, it can achieve any number of attacks on the host, from irritating the user (popping up windows or changing desktops) to damaging the host (deleting files, stealing data, or activating and spreading other malware, such as viruses). Trojans are also known to create back doors to give malicious users access to the system.

Unlike viruses and worms, Trojans do not reproduce by infecting other files nor do they self-replicate. Trojans must spread through user interaction such as opening an e-mail attachment or downloading and running a file from the Internet.

Bots
“Bot” is derived from the word “robot” and is an automated process that interacts with other network services. Bots often automate tasks and provide information or services that would otherwise be conducted by a human being. A typical use of bots is to gather information (such as web crawlers), or interact automatically with instant messaging (IM), Internet Relay Chat (IRC), or other web interfaces. They may also be used to interact dynamically with websites.

Bots can be used for either good or malicious intent. A malicious bot is self-propagating malware designed to infect a host and connect back to a central server or servers that act as a command and control (C&C) center for an entire network of compromised devices, or “botnet.” With a botnet, attackers can launch broad-based, “remote-control,” flood-type attacks against their target(s). In addition to the worm-like ability to self-propagate, bots can include the ability to log keystrokes, gather passwords, capture and analyze packets, gather financial information, launch DoS attacks, relay spam, and open back doors on the infected host. Bots have all the advantages of worms, but are generally much more versatile in their infection vector, and are often modified within hours of publication of a new exploit. They have been known to exploit back doors opened by worms and viruses, which allows them to access networks that have good perimeter control. Bots rarely announce their presence with high scan rates, which damage network infrastructure; instead they infect networks in a way that escapes immediate notice.

Best Practices

  • Install reputable Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware programs.
  • Keep your Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware programs up to date.
  • Regularly scan your computer with your Antiv-Virus/Anti-Malware programs.
  • Regularly update your Operating System.
  • Secure your home wifi network.
  • Avoiding visiting unknown sites and clicking on unknown links.
  • Do not display personal information on your online accounts.
  • Do not use open wifi.
  • Backup your files.
  • Use unique strong passwords ideally with password manager.

 

 

Source: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/security-center/

Source: https://redshift.autodesk.com/

Computer keyboard shortcut commands

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Computer keyboard shortcut keys

Shortcut keys help provide an easier and usually quicker method of navigating and executing commands in computer software programs. Shortcut keys are commonly accessed by using the Alt key (on IBM compatible computers),Command key (on Apple computers), Ctrl key, or Shift key in conjunction with another key. The de facto standard for listing a shortcut is listing the modifier key, a plus symbol, and another key. In other words, “Ctrl+S” is telling you to press and hold the Ctrl key, and then press the S key too.

You can also find the shortcut keys to their most popular program by looking for underlined letters in their menus. For example, the image to the right has an underline on the “F” in File, which means you can press the Alt key and then the “F” key to access the File menu.

File photo

Some programs require the user to press and hold Alt to see the underlined characters. In the same image above, you can see that some of the common features, such as Open (Ctrl+O) and Save (Ctrl+S), have shortcut keys assigned to them. As you begin to memorize shortcut keys, you’ll notice that many applications share the same shortcut keys. We have a list of the most commonly shared ones in the basic PC shortcut keys section.

Tip: Users outside the United States or who have a foreign copy of Microsoft Windows or a Microsoft application may not be able to use all of the below shortcut keys.

Basic PC Shortcut Keys

Below is a list of some of the most commonly used basic shortcut keys that work with almost all IBM compatible computers and software programs. It is highly recommended that all users keep a good reference of these shortcut keys or try to memorize them. Doing so will dramatically increase your productivity.

Tip: Besides the special character shortcuts listed here, some special characters are also located on the number keys (below the F1 – F12 keys). You can enter these special characters by pressing the Shift key and the number key that has the special character listed on it.

Shortcut Keys Description Shortcut Keys Description
Alt + F File menu options in current program Shift + Ins Copy selected item
Alt + E Edit options in current program Ctrl + V Paste
Alt+ Tab Switch between open programs Shift + Ins Paste
F1 Universal Help in almost every Windows program Ctrl + K Insert hyperlink for selected text
F2 Rename a selected file Ctrl + P Print the current page or document
F5 Refresh the current program window Home Goes to beginning of current line
Ctrl + N Create a new, blank document in some software programs Ctrl + Home Goes to beginning of document
Ctrl + O Open a file in current software program Shift + End Highlights from current position to end of line
Ctrl + A Select all text Ctrl + Left Arrow Moves one word to the left at a time
Ctrl + B Change selected text to be Bold Ctrl + Right Arrow Moves one word to the right at a time
Ctrl + I Change selected text to be in Italics Ctrl + Esc Opens the START menu
Ctrl + U Change selected text to be Underlined Ctrl + Shift + Esc Opens Windows Task Manager
Ctrl + F Open find window for current document or window Alt + F4 Close the currently active program
Ctrl + S Save current document file Alt + Enter Open the Properties for the selected item (file, folder, shortcut, etc.)
Ctrl + X Cut selected item End Goes to end of current line
Shift + Del Cut selected item Ctrl + End Goes to end of document
Ctrl + C Copy selected item

Source: http://www.computerhope.com/

How to Connect to Your Wireless Internet

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A wireless network at work or home lets you access the internet from more places. This article describes the basic steps for setting up a wireless network and how to start using it.

Get the right equipment

Before you can set up a new network and connect to the internet, here is what you’ll need.

Broadband Internet connection and modem. A broadband Internet connection is a high-speed Internet connection. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable are two of the most common broadband connections. You can get a broadband connection by contacting an Internet service provider (ISP). Typically, ISPs that provide DSL are telephone companies and ISPs that provide cable are cable TV companies. ISPs frequently offer broadband modems. Some ISPs also offer combination modem/wireless routers. You can also find these at computer or electronics stores, and online.

Wireless router. A router sends information between your network and the Internet. With a wireless router, you can connect PCs to your network using radio signals instead of wires. There are several different kinds of wireless network technologies, which include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac.

Wireless network adapter. A wireless network adapter is a device that connects your PC to a wireless network. To connect your portable or desktop PC to your wireless network, the PC must have a wireless network adapter. Most portable PCs and tablets—and some desktop PCs—come with a wireless network adapter already installed.

To check whether your PC has a wireless network adapter:

  1. Select the Start Button windows 10 icon  type in the search bar Device Manager, and then select it.
  2. Double select Network adapters.
  3. Look for a network adapter the might include “wireless” in the name

Setting up the internet connection and modem

After you have all the equipment, you’ll need to set up your modem and Internet connection. If your modem wasn’t set up for you by your Internet service provider (ISP), follow the instructions that came with your modem to connect it to your PC and the Internet. If you’re using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), connect your modem to a phone jack. If you’re using cable, connect your modem to a cable jack.

Positioning the wireless router

Place your wireless router in a place that it will receive the strongest signal with the least amount of interference. For the best results, follow these instructions.

 

Place your wireless router in a central location. Place the router as close to the center of your home as possible to increase the strength of the wireless signal throughout your home.

Position the wireless router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects, such as metal file cabinets. The fewer physical obstructions between your PC and the router’s signal, the more likely that you’ll be using the router’s full signal strength.

Reduce interference. 802.11g networking equipment uses a 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) radio frequency. This is the same frequency as most microwaves and many cordless phones. If you turn on the microwave or get a call on a cordless phone, your wireless signal might be temporarily interrupted. You can avoid most of these issues by using a cordless phone with a higher frequency, such as 5.8 GHz.

 

Securing your wireless network

Your wireless signal could go beyond the boundaries of your home, so security is even more important with a wireless network. If you don’t help secure your network, people with PCs nearby could access information stored on your network PCs and use your Internet connection.

To help make your network more secure:

Protect your router by changing the default username and password. Most router manufacturers have a default username and password on the router and a default network name (also known as the SSID). Someone could use this information to access your router without you knowing it. To help avoid that, change the default username and password for your router. See the information that was included with your device for instructions.

 

Set up a security key (password) for your network. Wireless networks have a network security key to help protect them from unauthorized access. To set up a network security key, follow these steps:

    1. Select the Start Button  windows 10 icon  , start typing Network and Sharing Center, and then choose it in the list.
    2. Select Set up a new connection or network.
    3. Select Set up a new network, then choose Next.

The wizard will walk you through creating a network name and a security key. If your router will support it, the wizard will default to Wi‑Fi Protected Access (WPA or WPA2) security. We recommend that you use WPA2, because it offers better security than WPA or Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security. With WPA2 or WPA you can also use a passphrase, so you don’t have to remember a cryptic sequence of letters and numbers.

Write down your security key and keep it in a safe place. You can also save your security key on a USB flash drive by following the instructions in the wizard.

Use a firewall. A firewall is hardware or software that can help protect your PC from unauthorized users or malicious software. Running a firewall on each PC on your network can help control the spread of malicious software on your network, and help protect your PCs when you’re accessing the Internet. Windows Firewall is included with this version of Windows.

 

Connect a PC to your wireless network

  1. Select the Network wifi barswifi bars 2   icon in the notification area.
  2. In the list of networks, choose the network that you want to connect to, and then select Connect.
  3. Type the security key (often called the password).
  4. Follow additional instructions if there are any.

If you have any questions on how to setup your wireless network, setup a new modem or router, change internet settings, what equipment to buy or where to buy it, then contact your Box Support technician today.

(support.microsoft.com was used a a reference for this post.)

 

10 Common PC Problems

By | Support

1: My computer is slow

The most common problem of all. A slow computer can cause many frustrations, but fortunately there is something you can do yourself before you replace it. There may be several reasons for a slow computer; however, the most common is lack of maintenance. Fragmented data, a corrupted registry, spyware and dozens of unnecessary programs running at the same time, easily eat at the speed and performance of your PC.

2: My computer freezes

Also a common problem, but it is far more serious than a slow PC. In most cases it is caused by viruses, especially spyware that has been installed on your computer. It can enter via a click on a link to a fake website from an email or so on. Often the email is being sent from what looks like your bank, Paypal, Facebook or similar. Last year MYSecurityCenter registered an increase in malware infections coming from Facebook-related fraudsters among their customers.

The problem can also be caused by hardware – perhaps some memory you just installed – or recent software updates, including Windows Update.

3: I forgot to backup my data

Unfortunately, backup is still an overlooked security task for many home users – until the day it is too late. Important documents, photos, music libraries and emails are automatically stored on your computer’s hard drive, which is a mechanical and electrical device. When it breaks down (and it is when, not if) this data will disappear forever. Even if you have a warranty from the hard drive manufacturer, it does not cover your data, it only replaces the hard drive with a new one.

4: I get bombarded with adware and my home page has changed

Many do not notice that they often accept a new toolbar when they download free programs such as Adobe Reader. For example Adobe Reader now offers the Google Chrome internet browser as part of its download. Whilst Adobe and Google are reputable companies, other free downloads may install toolbars or other applications that can contain malicious code that hijacks your browser and changes all the settings. So your home page for example is changed to another website that you can’t then change back. At the same time, annoying pop-up messages with advertisements for products you’ve never asked for are constantly displayed on screen every time you try to browse the internet.

5: I cannot get online

Internet connection problems can be caused by many different things. The most common are incorrect network configurations, hardware or software errors in the router, latency from your Internet Service Provider, incorrect IP address configuration, incorrect connection of network cables, firewall applications that block http traffic from your PC or temporary timeouts your ISP.

Check out our support plans by clicking HERE! Box Support provides ongoing computer support, whenever you need it.

6: My computer turns off by itself

Typically this is due to dying power supply, bad cable connections, defective battery or overheating when the computer shuts down by itself to cool down.

7: My smartphone will not sync with my PC

In order to ensure backup of your smartphone, it is important that you regularly sync your phone content with your computer. When synchronization does not work as expected may be due to various factors, depending on the type of smartphone and PC. Sometimes it is required that all programs are closed, during syncing or backup.

8: My wireless network is unstable

An unstable wireless network is a very common problem. It can be caused by everything from radio waves that interfere with the signal to the router’s location in the home or outdated network drivers.

9: I cannot print from the web

Most of us have had the need to print tickets or documents that we ordered or downloaded from the web. If your computer’s pop-up blocker is turned on, this can cause you to not be able to print. There are also PDF documents that are rights protected by passwords and therefore not printable.

10: My computer makes strange noises

If your computer suddenly starts to buzz or vibrate, it can be due to a hardware failure. High, whining noises may indicate problems with the electrical components, while buzzing noises are often caused by lack of ventilation.

Check out our support plans by clicking HERE! Box Support provides ongoing computer support, whenever you need it.

Potentially Unwanted Programs

Puppies are cute but PUPs aren’t so much fun

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What are PUPs?

Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs, are small pieces of software that are installed onto your system, usually by piggybacking onto other legitimate software, or by other similarly circuitous means. This occurs most often without your knowledge or consent.

While most PUPs are considered highly suspect, they are not always considered malware in the strictest sense. The primary reason for this is because their installation is acknowledged in the agreement of the original program you intended to install, even if such an acknowledgement is buried deep in the fine print. Most of the time you won’t even realize that you’ve installed additional programs until you notice new icons on your desktop or system tray or a new toolbar in your browser. A general rule, Box Support considers any software that is designed to install itself onto your system without your explicit knowledge and consent as likely malware.

What do PUPs look like?

PUPs (potentially unwanted software) come in many forms and varieties, often masquerading as other, more benign types of software. Some of the most common varieties are the following:

PUPs Toolbars

Unwanted Toolbars

Toolbars

Many PUPs appear as toolbars, attached to your favorite browser. Typically the toolbar might come under the guise of a helpful translator bar, a time saving coupon-clipper, a recipe catalog, or even as a philanthropic software accessory. Most of the time toolbars aren’t intentionally malicious, instead, they simply provide functionality that is already included in your browser or search engine and are needlessly taking up space on your screen and your system. Often times toolbars stack on top of each other until there is precious little space for the actual browser window.

Pop-ups

PUPs sometimes take the form of anti-virus or similar software. Typically the software will produce a pop-up alerting you to a “serious threat”. These threats are almost always fictitious. It warns that without immediate intervention, your system will suffer a catastrophic error. The message will encourage you to click a button typically labeled “Clean Now” or “Fix”, which will then direct you to a website which promises to remove said errors for a fee.

How do PUPs harm my system?

There are a number of ways in which PUPs can cause harm and hinder the proper function of the computer. Below we have detailed a few such methods.

Doggy Pile

PUPs (much like their cuddly namesake) tend to doggy pile. This means that they have a cumulative affect on your system’s performance. While one PUP might go unnoticed, as they accumulate, your system will begin to respond more sluggishly and begin producing more errors. This is because they begin leeching your system’s resources, leaving less for the software you actually want. Like barnacles on a the hull of a ship, they need to be scraped off for smooth sailing.

Foot In The Door

Having one pup on your system is like a foot in the door to your computer. Incrementally, that door will be pushed further and further open, making it possible for bigger, more malicious threats to enter; threats like viruses, trojans, bots and other malware.

Spyware and Adware

PUPs aren’t limited to hogging your system resources and making your computer more vulnerable to attack. Some PUPs will randomly display ads, redirect internet searches to unsafe websites and some can even skim your personal and financial information. Fraud and identity theft have become extremely pervasive in the digital age, ranking as the fastest growing crime according to the Federal Trade Commission.

How do I avoid PUPs?

Your risk of being affected by PUPs can be mitigated by being careful about the software you install, the links and ads you click on and the emails you open. With the prevalence of PUPs, even being the most cautious user is likely to find them on their system eventually. As long as your computer is connected to the internet, it is ultimately at risk which is why it’s so critical that you have the right security services and software to protect your computer and your sensitive information.

Check out our security plans by clicking HERE! Box Support protects you and your computer from PUPs, malware, viruses, spyware and more.

What do I do if I suspect PUPs may be on my system?

Although many PUPs parade themselves about your desktop with obtrusive pop-ups and toolbars, some PUPs run silently in the background and can only be detected and removed with specialized software.

While uninstalling them and cleaning them with anti-malware programs can help, inevitably PUPs and other more malicious software will end up on  your system again. Just as you need professional assistance in maintaining proper health, so too does your computer.

If your computer seems sluggish, unresponsive or is simply manifesting strange symptoms, DO NOT simply wait for these symptoms to go away. Address them early before they have a chance to cause real problems, such as damage to your machine or compromising your sensitive information. The internet can be a frustrating and at times a frightening place. But you don’t have to do it alone.

Help is close at hand

Box Support is the leader in providing enterprise level computer security and support for home users and small businesses.  We keep your computer running smoothly and your sensitive information secure. Box Support will clean and optimize your system, install enterprise level security software and guard against future threats. Try us out today by taking advantage of our robust protection plans.

 

 

 

Are You Safe From Cyber Attacks?

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Why is Computer Security so important?

Computer security helps secure data from threats such as unauthorized access, theft, misuse and more. It can also enable privacy of users and can safeguard your system from viruses, spyware, malware or even natural disasters.

Box Support has prepared the infographic below to highlight the necessity of security and support for homes and businesses.

Why is Computer Security so important?

Check out our security plans by clicking HERE! Box Support protects you and your computer from malware, viruses, spyware and more.