Anti-What? Terms You Should Know

July 15, 2015

Your mom’s computer was recently hacked. A coworker had his social security number stolen. Your best friend called completely hysterical because a virus corrupted her computer. You must seek protection from these awful occurrences, but where to start? Instead of becoming anti-computer, familiarizing yourself with the terms below may help you begin to understand some of the common security devices and decide which method is right for you and your computer.


Malware, short for malicious software, is a broad term that includes any deceptive code or program that secretly installs on your computer without your knowledge or consent. Therefore, anti-malware protects against these evil devices that can cause password theft, false email advertisements, or dangerous pop-ups on your browser. Once malware is identified by a user through this software, he or she may safely remove it before any damage is caused to the computer or its data.


How is a virus different? A virus is a type of malware that can copy itself and spread quickly, similar to a biological virus, like strep throat, spreading at an elementary school.

On the computer, opening a single file may expose a virus which can then pass through the system, attach to other files and programs, and delete records or change codes, making them unusable. To prevent this detrimental outcome, an antivirus device runs computer scans to search for recognizable viruses and related malware. Because viruses are constantly evolving, it is important to run updates on antivirus applications so they will be located successfully.


Have you ever received an email and wondered how you ended up on the sender’s list? Most likely, this unrecognizable email is spam, which is defined as a message sent to a mass number of recipients who did not sign up to receive it. Often times, spammers verify email addresses when users reply or click unsubscribe. Spam can be unknowingly dangerous and often contain viruses or malware. To avoid the negative effects of spam as you sort through your daily stream of emails, an anti-spam filter may be a helpful tool. This protective device alerts users of emails that are likely spam, to implement security within their inboxes. In the non-stop business realm of computer use for important files and email communication, knowledge of these security devices may help you determine how to protect yourself against malicious codes that are looking for a chance to crash your system.

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