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There are different types of malicious software, often referred to as malware that threatens your computers. Malware is a term used to designate several forms of perverse software such as viruses, trojan horses, worms, spyware, just to name a few.

The first computer virus is said to date back as early as 1949, but the earliest known computer virus arose in 1971 and was named the “Creeper virus.” Following many other viruses, the first known microcomputer viruses that spread by floppy disk “in the wild” and attached itself to Apple II operating system. This virus was originally written as a joke around 1982 by a 15 year old high school student and put onto a game disk.

Worms are a common method for spam mail senders. The main objective for these malicious viruses is to spread to other systems by replicating themselves quickly. They are able to delete files, slow down the computer’s resources and possibly even shutting the system down. Worms are automatic and usually invisible to the user and makes it known when their uncontrolled replication causes slowing or freezing up your computer.

Unlike Worms, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves. Trojans come across as useful, interesting, mandatory programs. Trojans trick you into downloading or installing programs that cause harm to your computer. When installed, a Trojan will generally have unlimited access to do whatever the attacker has the opportunity to do.

Spyware is similar to a Trojan horse in that users unintentionally install the product when they install something else. Spyware aims to gather information about you or your organization, whether it be banking information, log in passwords or internet surfing history without your knowledge. This stolen data can then be passed on to another party, used for advertising and can lead to system crashes.

Antivirus software was originally designed to expose and remove computer viruses to prevent them from spreading. It has become essential to update antiviruses more frequently with new viruses out there.