Viruses: are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another. It interferes with computer operations, deletes data and can even erase your hard drive.
Spyware: is a type of malware that can be installed on your computer which collects small pieces of information about users without their knowledge. Spyware is hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Sometimes spyware can be installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or pubic computer intentionally in order to secretly monitor other users.
Malware: short for malicious software: Software designed to secretly access a computer system. Malware includes viruses, worms, trojan horse, adware, scare ware and crime ware. These programs are considered illegal.
One example is when a pop up window appears on your computer saying you have a virus or spyware infection on your computer. It says you need to download this program. DO NOT EVER ACCEPT THIS OR DOWNLOAD IT, THIS IS A VIRUS. There is no way the internet knows if you have a virus without doing a scan. Simply just close this window. Also when you are downloading a program that you want you may see a window appear that says; "download this program" and it will have a box with a check mark in it. This also could be a virus or malware program. Read this add on carefully and if you dont know what they are uncheck the box and click OK.
Another common way is by opening e-mail attachments. E-mails can be made to look like they are from a friend, co-worker or a company you recognize; these e-mails are fake. If you receive an e-mail with an attachment and it was not expected or from someone you don't know delete it. DO NOT OPEN.
Updates are also important: Many updates are security updates. Make sure your updates are done regularly. You can also set your computer to update automatically. Also have a virus protection program running on your computer. McAfee and Nortons are a couple of common virus protection software. These programs monitor what is being downloaded to your system and will stop programs that are unwanted before they enter your computer.
Downloading free software, music, or movies is a definite no no. Many times these files that you are downloading have viruses and malware software included in them.